Thursday

Funny Closings on Snow Day

"Blah, Blah, Blah School District has a delayed opening at 10 a.m. Parents may drop off their children at the usual time." And hope and pray that at least a janitor is there to open the door since it's 22* and probably the teachers are still trying to dig out of their own driveway.

"Essential personnel report at 7:30. Non-essential personnel report at noon." Yeah, you just waltz on in at noon and head straight for the HR office to pick up your pink slip. "You know, we realized we could save a LOT of money since you aren't really essential. Your arrival at noon indicates that you agree, so there should be no lawsuit. Happy job hunting!"

"Upstanding University will only require students who live on campus to attend classes."
Um, and will they be taught by all of the teachers who live on campus? (This, of course, would never happen in this fine upper echelon of education known as Abilene, but is actually from my childhood in Louisiana -- makes more sense, doesn't it?)

9:00 A.M. Thursday


Wednesday

5:30 P.M. Wednesday

Say Again?

  • Commercial on the radio right now:

"There are only two ways to get out of debt: Someone dies and leaves you a lot of money, or you earn more."

I guess that whole "spend-less-than-you-make" plan is just an illusion.

  • Ad for a new movie:

"Telling the true story of Christmas. The Nativity. Rated PG."

The true story of Christmas needs parental guidance?

  • Speaker explaining his success:

"I had faith in God, and, more importantly, God had faith in me."

Really? Faith? Hebrews tells me, "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Doesn't God see it all? Is there need for Him to have faith? This one really makes me curious. I think I understand the sentiment behind what he was saying, but it seems to be a malapropism.

Monday

I'm Still Bitter

I admit it. After 13 years, I still remember one off-hand comment. I don't try to -- it's just still there. We had just moved into our HUGE 1200 sq. ft. duplex (huge compared to our 800 sq. ft. apartment). After a few days I spent an industrious evening after work unpacking all of the kitchen. On his way to bed, I gave Troy a tour of my newly organized kitchen, "This is where the spices are, here are the cups, etc." He stared at me (noticing NONE of my wondrous organization!) with a most bemused expression on his face and finally said, "I find this all very amusing from someone who uses the kitchen 3 times a month."

Ahem. I admit it was VERY close to being accurate, but it still irritated me. So, of course, I still remember it. God love Troy, by the next morning when I was STILL mad (I know, there's that whole "Don't let the sun set on your anger" thing -- I have the hardest time with that) he had NO recollection of any of that exchange so I'm sure that 13 years will have done nothing to improve his memory.

Why can't I let this go? Why is it still on my mind? I think about it at least once a week, like I did last night. I spent over 5 minutes in search of one particular dish to put dinner in (I could have given up and used a different one, but they are all in the fridge w/ Thanksgiving leftovers that I should be throwing out, I'm sure). With every cabinet door opened and cabinet searched I got more and more irritated -- thankfully, no one was home. But, my thought 13 years later in reply is, "I cook EVERY night now -- NOW can you pay attention to where to put my dishes/ utensils?" I've mentioned it takes me a solid hour to get dinner on the table and I'm not blaming that on all of my helpers, but I do spend at least 5 minutes every night searching for SOMETHING -- can opener, garlic press, measuring spoons or cups, whatever. Between the kids each unloading the dishwasher and Troy clearing the decks, things can be in any one of 6-8 places, and no one can ever remember what they did with it, or have never seen it or touched it.

So, I figure I have these options before me:
a) Ban anyone and everyone from "helping" (a.k.a. "hiding things") in my kitchen (this option will call to Troy's mind another family member having a foot-stomping, shrieking hissy, "Get out of MY kitchen!!!")
b) Train my family to actually put things where they go.
c) Give up and consider every night of cooking dinner a grand scavenger hunt.

It's gonna have to be c).

Product Reviews

*sigh* I fell prey. Saw a cool-looking remote car for one of the younger crowd on my list. The price wasn't too bad. I got it AND the batteries, because I am a considerate gift-giver that way. Before I wrapped it, I decided to try Shannon's trick and get all of the packaging, twist-ties, cellophane tape, etc., out of the way so that play could begin immediately upon opening! Lo and behold, no packaging -- only styrofoam keeping it in place! Cool! Well, while I'm in here, may as well put the batteries in -- they'll still be good in a few weeks, right. Well, no, because it is impossible to put the batteries in while the car is turned off, and if you turn it on to put the batteries in, it runs constantly causing little bitty tire burns on the battery installer (ask me how I know this!) *sigh* One more package re-packaged and headed back to Target. For the record, it was a Kool Toyz Truck and ATV set. (Kool Toyz is a Target brand of toys *this much is true* manufactured only at Christmastime to trap unsuspecting consumers).

On a better and more local note -- I won't even try to tell you the connection to these folks, but some out-of-towners were in town and we met them for lunch. They were wanting to go to Bangkok Thai restaurant. Bangkok Thai is the hotel restaurant to a less-than-desirable-looking hotel on S. 1st. I was VERY afraid and took Zantac in my purse and had a snack on the way there in case it was horrible. It was MOST excellent, reasonably priced, and I will probably return there someday -- in broad daylight, with either my husband or a large group of people. I recommend Bangkok Thai (one of the people at our table said that Noke's has closed?).

But not Kool Toyz.

Saturday

Miscellaneous Ramblings

I have had this empty box-of-Blog-post pulled up since Thanksgiving evening, I think. I have LOTS to say, just don't want to stop here long enough to say it. I do, indeed, love BooMama pointing out that she doesn't "want to be so busy writing about her life that she forgets to live it." Indeed. A danger in blog-land, no doubt.

I missed posting a list of all the things I'm thankful for -- I certainly mentioned a few when discussing my "dingy car"! Here, in no certain order, are things I had opportunity to be thankful for this week:
  • Even though it was 3:45 on the day before Thanksgiving when I realized that my kitchen sink was beyond Drano's help, the plumbers were still able to come unclog my kitchen sink during regular business hours.
  • My sweet knight-in-shining-armor husband was home to encourage me to call the plumbers so that neither of us had to live with a gross kitchen sink for 48 hours.
  • A stress-free Thanksgiving! It was so glorious and wonderful and we ate too much and had a great time.
  • Friends that welcome me into their home -- actually, their in-law's home! -- for even MORE Thanksgiving food!
  • Family that will drive to see us and stuff themselves with us!
  • Lowe's had a replacement microwave for me in stock when mine died an unexpected and relatively violent death the day after Thanksgiving.
  • I have a fabulous job that is even more fabulous now that I have been away from it for 10 days -- and still get paid the same!!!!!!! -- that allows my savings account to have room in it to call the plumber AND buy a new microwave within 48 hours.
  • Again, my precious husband was here reminding me that in the overall scheme of things, a stopped up sink and busted microwave are pretty small potatoes. But stone cold potatoes. Because we have no microwave. (It's over-the-range -- and I'm waiting on someone to install it. Please no comments. I know that between the 2 college degrees in this house we could figure out how to do it -- but we don't want to. It's MUCH more fun to just gripe about how long it's taking for the installer-guy to get here.)
So, even amidst and amongst the irritations, we had some good times. We even have all of the "holiday lighting" up that we're going to put up -- I'm pretending that my neighbors think it's really cute and whimsical the way they turn all different directions instead of being a straight-line of holiday cheer.

So, I think I've mentioned that the microwave is out? In MY terms, that means no:
  • microwave popcorn (the saddest, by far, of all of the losses -- I really may have to go to a movie theater and buy myself some already popped!)
  • Lean Cuisines
  • microwave nachos
  • last-minute defrost.
Attention: Sunday night dinner at the Stirman house has been officially canceled until further notice. Sunday night is the cook's night off and the above list is generally dinner around here. Maybe we'll spring for a Little Caesar's $5 Hot 'n Ready!

Tuesday

Happily Ever After

I suppose that tradition/ bloggity etiquette/ political correctness dictate that I cite November 21, 1992 as the happiest day of my life and then revel in the romance and details of that day. The deal is, there are so many flash-bulbs of happiness since that day that, while my wedding day was beautiful, fun, and all I had hoped it would be, I won't claim it as the happiest day of my life.

A confession that will sound as if I am veering down another road entirely: I would love to tell you that the moment I laid eyes on either of my children I was so overwhelmed with gushy love for them that it leaked out of my every pore -- but that is simply not true. I loved them fiercely from conception, even to the point that I believed their alien-esque features on the ultrasound to be the most beautiful alien I had ever seen. But at the moment of their birth they were simply another human that I had never met before -- a human I would have knocked your block off if you had tried to injure or take, but a stranger to me nonetheless.

In trying to delicately say this to a young mother-to-be, I told someone that, for me, being the mother of a newborn was, in some ways like being a newlywed: "Remember the day you got married and how much you loved your husband and you thought you couldn't love him anymore, but as time goes by you just love him more and more? That's how motherhood has been for me." (and I still stand by that statement -- both from the marriage and motherhood perspectives) This got tremendous guffaws from the women around me (Troy, I'll have to tell you who they were -- you'll understand! :-), "Well, sure, maybe if you're married to Troy Stirman that's how you feel ... "

Well, I am, in fact, married to Troy Stirman and it IS how I feel. There have been so many moments in my life that I have prayed that the Lord would let me always remember that PRECISE moment of happiness -- and of course I can't remember a single one right now. My life has been so blessed on so many counts and I frequently look around and can't believe this life I'm living. It's a lot less fashionable and far more budget-conscious than I may have dreamed, and covered with far more dog hair and bits of grated cheese (do they throw it into the air? do they plant it on the dog's back so that she will shake it off? do they build tiny cities with it?) but it is far more full and wonderful than I could have dreamed.

Today we have been married 14 years. We have been to tiny Thanksgiving feasts with pilgrims in construction-paper hats on our anniversary. We have sat through basketball practices on our anniversary. We have almost forgotten our anniversary when it is on a full Sunday (we pass each other in the halls at church shouting, "Oh! I almost forgot! Happy Anniversary!) It's great to have a day to remember, a day to celebrate another year, a day to have an excuse to be mushy and, in the words of Marion Cunningham, be "frisky" in front of the kids. (that makes me laugh -- thinking of me as Marion Cunningham) But there are so many other days in this marriage that I am thankful for -- all 5,110 of them!

I would do every minute of it over again -- the good, the bad, and the horribly ugly -- with Troy Stirman by my side. I am blessed.

Hmmmm...

These people have an interesting outlook on life. (*WARNING* -- NOT a family-friendly link!)

Thursday

It's Beginning to look a lot like ... a science experiment

What is your most detestable job around the house? I know you're thinking something involving the bathrooms, but I HATE to clean out the refrigerator. Which is evidenced by the fact that I hardly ever do it. Which makes it 12 times worse than it has to be. I realize this, but I hate it! Yesterday I did my pre-holiday, have-to-make-room-in-the-fridge purge and toss in the refrigerator.

Say it with me now: Ew.

I tried to detach from my task and look at it with scientific observation: I wonder what decomposed food turns into THAT? hmmmmm. And under the bottom crisper drawer was quite the walk down memory lane. There was evidence of the Great Blueberry Syrup debacle of Christmas '05, as well as multiple reminders of the days when we have had homemade ranch dressing. And stored it on the top shelf. In front of the milk. That a child tried to get out...

So, after cleaning out the refrigerator and taking stock of my pantry, I evidently need to find a recipe that uses a LOT of onions, sour cream, chili powder, and sugar-free strawberry-kiwi jell-o. Suggestions?

Wednesday

Here's the Deal

If you know me just a little bit, you know that I am not exactly a cell-phone afficionado. My family knows that if they ever do actually call it, the chances that I have it both a)with me and b) set where I can hear it ring are slim-to-none. I want it when I want it, but I don't need another instrument to answer others' demands of me -- email and home phone seem to work just fine, thankyouverymuch!

At any rate, I marvel at the people who live constantly with a phone stuck out of their head. Or the people who have paid for the clip for their ear so that the thing can actually be stuck to their head. Amazing.

Earlier this week I drove the kids to school on one of my days off -- I couldn't believe how many women were driving around at 8 in the morning on their cell phone. Then I went to the gym. No fewer than 3 women sitting in the parking lot on their cell phone.

So I begin to scroll through my mental rolodex of people I know that would enjoy talking to me at 8 in the morning. If the kids forget their lunch or an important paper, they may enjoy a brief little visit with me at 8 in the morning, but other than that, I come up completely empty of who may want to visit with me at 8 in the morning!

The 21st century is obviously not my century.

Tuesday

Tired Tuesday's Thoughts

  • What is with all of us having "low neuroticism"? That is the mamby-pambiest personality test I've ever seen because everyone I know ranks way up there on the neurotic scale, with me topping the charts!
  • You simply haven't lived until you have heard a rendition of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" performed solely with 5th grade percussion and vocals. That's all I have to say about that.
  • My internet was out for about 18 hours. I survived. Barely
  • Is Thanksgiving really next week? While I have been ticking off the days until a week off of school, I am now realizing I should probably be making a grocery list, etc. My main goal in life is to NEVER be in the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving or Christmas -- and I usually am. At least once.
  • Thanksgiving next week means a birthday and anniversary betwixt and between. The birthday is one of the small people in the house. Which means a party. NOT my forte' as a mother. But it will be over -- but not soon enough.
  • Late. Tired. More captivating rambling later.

Personality Profile -- whatever.

Your Five Factor Personality Profile

Extroversion:

You have medium extroversion.
You're not the life of the party, but you do show up for the party.
Sometimes you are full of energy and open to new social experiences.
But you also need to hibernate and enjoy your "down time."

Conscientiousness:

You have medium conscientiousness.
You're generally good at balancing work and play.
When you need to buckle down, you can usually get tasks done.
But you've been known to goof off when you know you can get away with it.

Agreeableness:

You have high agreeableness.
You are easy to get along with, and you value harmony highly.
Helpful and generous, you are willing to compromise with almost anyone.
You give people the benefit of the doubt and don't mind giving someone a second chance.

Neuroticism:

You have low neuroticism.
You are very emotionally stable and mentally together.
Only the greatest setbacks upset you, and you bounce back quickly.
Overall, you are typically calm and relaxed - making others feel secure.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is low.
You're a pretty conservative person, and you favor what's socially acceptable.
You think that change for novelty's sake is a very bad idea.
While some may see this as boring, many see you as dependable and wise.

Sunday

Suggestions, please...

Roxanne recently mailed me -- did you catch that?? MAILED, not emailed -- she had to walk into a post office and everything!! -- a CD 'specially made for ME!

Side note -- Roxanne, that is such a you thing to do. I especially love that you did your "cutting and pasting" electronically, other than the cover! Now I have something I enjoy AND I don't have to dust it!!

Anyway -- I love it, as anyone would love something 'specially made for them! I don't get to listen to all of it very often, because the kids especially love 2 tracks on there (All In This Together and Trashing the Camp) and we listen to those over and over. Riley commented the other day that he wished "Why Should I Worry" from Oliver and Company were on there. Which of course made me think of how easy it would be to make a custom CD from purchased downloads 'specially for each of my kids and what a great gift that would be. The problem is that I don't know any fun songs!

Ashley made me a list of a few songs she would like on a CD -- most of them from "High School Musical" (which is GREAT with me!)

Do you have any suggestions of songs you would put on a CD for a 9 and 11 year old? What's fun? What makes everyone want to sing along? We want to turn our house into our own "Up With People!" :-)

Wednesday

Works For Me Wednesday


I have already replaced the latch on my 4 year old dishwasher once and I think soon it will need it again. Recently, as I was trying to hold my mouth just right to get it to close and praying I could get it closed just this one more time so that please, please, please I could make all of the dirty dishes turn into clean dishes, I remembered a very handy trick Roxanne passed along to me when her dishwasher was out of commission.

If you're anything like me, the dishwasher is, obviously, glorious for washing dishes, but it also very neatly holds the dirty dishes UNTIL it washes them. Here's the deal -- it can still hold dirty dishes when it's broken! Better yet -- it also holds CLEAN dishes while they dry!!! Can it get any better???? Well, yeah, it could actually NOT be broken and wash the dishes, but still!

So, the system goes like this: Start, before you do anything else in the world, by calling the appliance repair man, for the love of all that is clean and sanity-saving!! Then, while waiting the obligatory 4-6 days for his 12-hour window of when he will show up, store dirty dishes in the bottom of the dishwasher. If you ever get the urge to stand over a steamy sink-full of spaghetti-chunked soapy water, then place the clean dishes on the top rack to dry. When they drip on the bottom dishes, it's like a pre-rinse! If the dishes on the bottom begin to tower precariously and scrape the top rack -- it's time to stop waiting for an urge and just get busy washing.

Obviously, the best trick of all is for the dishwasher to actually work, but when it doesn't, this Works for Me!

For more Works for Me tips, check out Shannon's blog.

Friday

Thankful Dings

My car is paid for. Troy's truck is paid for. We have become gloriously accustomed to not having a car payment, and are willing to put up with some interesting quirks of the vehicles. The one where my car will start and then die is less amusing than some, but so far it's been fairly harmless.

Last week my car developed a new quirk. Some sort of sensor has been thrown and after you start the car and all of the other dinging, etc., has gone off it will start dinging. Loudly. Five sets of five dings, with about 15 seconds between sets. It originally didn't bother me too much, but started the day before we went to Dallas last week. We have since learned that sometimes after an hour or so the car will burst forth with another 25 dings, grieving that it has been running so long without dinging. Neither Troy nor I really enjoy repetitive loud noises, but Troy really did not enjoy the new quirk of the car. So I decided that it's all in your attitude about the dings. The dings are simply our car reminding us, "I have served you well for many years. Do NOT take me for granted. Just a reminder..."

Troy didn't really appreciate this new outlook, either. I decided that the dings could be my reminder to think of 5 things I'm thankful for. I shared this new philosophy and insight on the way to church Sunday morning, shouting my idea to the kids over the dinging and Troy's yelling at the dinging. I proceeded to list things I was thankful for as the car dinged away.

I have continued to be thankful as my car dings. On my errand day and I had opportunity to be ultra-thankful as I started and stopped the car at least 5 times, giving me no fewer than 25 opportunities to be thankful (and 125 dings in my ear, if you're doing the math). That was the day that I was the bug, though. Finally, later in the evening, REALLY not happy about getting back out of the house, we all piled into the car -- minus Troy, who had other obligations. As the car began dinging, Riley asked, "Mom, what are you thankful for?" I HAD come up with 25 things earlier in the day -- but I was completely out. I wanted to shout, "NOTHING!!! I am not thankful for one darn thing in this day!!!!" Realizing that wouldn't be a very good example, I simply said, "Riley, I've got nothing."

He launches in, "I'm thankful for a warm car!!" Bless his sweet little heart. Next ding was Ashley's turn, "I'm thankful I have Expedition 56 (new group at church for 5th and 6th graders." And away we went, thankful for our wonderful, blessed lives, in our blessing of a quirky vehicle reminding us to be thankful.

We continue to be thankful with our dings. Sometimes Riley is thankful that the dings are almost over -- and that's good enough for me. If my decrepit, quirky car can be the catalyst that leads all of us to walk through life looking at the tiniest of blessings as blessings (when I leave the gym I'm thankful for a healthy body, when I leave the grocery store I am thankful for financial blessings, when I leave work I am thankful the day is over! ;-) then I need to continue my faithful relationship with John, our good and faithful mechanic. I need to keep my dinging car around for a long time.

Thursday

Sometimes You're the Windshield; Sometimes You're the Bug

Remember that song by Mary Chapin Carpenter? I've been thinking about it a lot lately -- just making an observation on the ups and downs we all go through. Why is it that somedays you can fight back and believe in who you are and what you can accomplish, and other days you just feel run over by it all and believe that you and the world in general would just be better off if you stayed in bed.

For me it doesn't seem to go away on a given day, either. If I wake up on top of the world, nothing deters me or knocks me down that day. If I wake up with the world on top of ME, then I don't ever seem to be able to make it back to the top. Why is that? Granted, I have reached a certain age and stage of life where I openly admit, "I'm GROUCHY today. I will try not to grouch at you but I suggest you get out of my way!" I don't mind admitting when I can't even try to be patient and/or nice!

Maybe I need one of these:


Okay, if not one of those, how 'bout one of these:


I leave you with a Riley-joke for the day, that seems somewhat fitting considering the topic:

What do you get when you cross a Hummer and a Volkswagen?




A HUMBUG!

Maybe tomorrow I'll wake up and be the windshield!
 
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