Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Love Christmas

There are only a few days left until it is Christmas Eve, that holy night, that most holy of all nights. In a few days we will celebrate the night long long ago when the stars were brightly shining.  It was the night of our dear Savior’s birth.  Long had lain the world in sin and error pining, till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.  A thrill of hope, and the weary world rejoiced! For yonder broke a new and glorious morn.  Fall on your knees, and hear the angel voices! It was a night divine, when Christ was borne.  Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, let all within us praise his holy name! Christ is the Lord, let ever, ever praise we. (1)
Our Christmas story started with the trumpeting of angels.  “Glory to the newborn king!” They proclaimed. “Peace on earth, and mercy mild God and sinners reconciled.  Joyful all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies with angelic hosts proclaim, Christ is born in Bethlehem!” (2)
Their audience was a group of lowly shepherds, guarding their flock of sheep in a field.  While they watched their flock by night, far far away on Judea’s plains, those shepherds of old heard the joyous strains, “Glory to God! Glory to God! Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth good will toward men!”  Those shepherds followed the star and it led them to the newborn babe.  (3)
The shepherds found that precious newborn babe in the town of Bethlehem because of a requirement to pay a tax in the city of Joseph's lineage.  O that dear little town of Bethlehem how still we see thee lie, above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by. Yet in thy dark streets shineth, the everlasting light! The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.  For Christ is born of Mary and gathered all above, while mortals sleep the angels keep their watch of wondering love.  O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth!  And praises sing to God the king and peace to men on earth! (4)
Those seeking Him found the precious baby in that city of Bethlehem where he lie in a manger, with no crib for his bed.  The little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head. The stars in the heavens look down where he lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.  The cattle are lowing, the poor baby wakes. But little Lord Jesus no crying he makes. (5)
When the shepherds entered the manger, they found Joseph watching steadfastly over his wife Mary, and her newborn son.  The shepherds and Joseph watched Mary lovingly care for her newborn son, singing him sweet lullabies to soothe him back to sleep.  Silent night, holy night, all is calm. All is bright. Round yon virgin mother and child, holy infant so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace! Sleep in heavenly peace. (6)
And as she lulled her baby back to sleep, the earth itself rejoiced.  Joy to the world! The Lord is come, let earth receive her king! Let every heart prepare him room, while saints and angels sing.  Rejoice rejoice, when Jesus reigns, and Saints their songs employ! While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains repeat the sounding joy! (7)
There was another group of righteous men who saw the star shining in the midnight sky, and understanding its meaning set out to seek the Christ child.  With wondering awe the wise men saw the star in heaven springing, and with delight in peaceful night they heard the angels singing, “Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna to his name!” By light of star they travelled far to seek the lowly manger, a humble bed wherein was laid the humble little Stranger.  And still is found the world around the old and hallowed story, and still is sung in every tongue the angels’ song of glory! (8)
And that is our miraculous, beautiful story, of once upon a time in Royal David’s city when there stood a lowly cattle shed, where a mother laid her baby in a manger for his bed.  Mary was that mother mild, and Jesus Christ her little child.  It is our job to come all ye faithful!  Let us be joyful and triumphant!  O come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem! Come and behold him, born the king of angels!  Let us sing with choirs of angels and let us sing in exultation!  Sing all ye citizens of heaven above,  “Glory to God, glory to God in the highest” - o come let us adore Him!  (9) (10)

... to be continued.
 
1. O Holy Night
2. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
3. Far Far Away on Judea's Plains
4. O Little Town of Bethlehem
5. Away in a Manger copyright 1980 Rosalee Elser
6. Silent Night
7. Joy to the World
8. With Wondering Awe
9. Once In Royal David's City
10. O Come All Ye Faithful   
 
   (reposted from last year, from my talk in church on Christmas Day, with a few changes)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Traditions

My family never really had traditions for the holidays when I was growing up.  (I am not complaining, Mom and Dad, you know we didn't.)  I sort of had the impression that traditions were too hard to keep up in this fast paced, chaotic world.  Who had time to remember what they did last year, and how can you know what your schedule will be like this year and does anyone really want to do the same things every year, year after year?  I mean, that's soooooo predictable, you know?

Devin on the other hand, is like Mr. Tradition.  He talks about our traditions and you can always hear the word forming, shaping itself into all capitol letters because THAT'S HOW IMPORTANT IT IS.  The idea of tradition, to Devin, is beautiful.

Still, we don't have a lot of traditions, I think we have just enough. Just enough that they don't become overwhelming, exhausting, and overshadow the actual event they are supposedly celebrating.

We do the family run the day of Thanksgiving, we do gingerbread houses the first weekend (or thereabouts) in December, and we make candy - fudge, caramel, taffy, etc.  Also, we never, ever, ever, ever, ever open presents before Christmas morning.  No matter what it is, or who it is from.

Side Note < I did cheat this year. Devin's mom sent a package with some presents, and she always sends socks.  Not just socks, we're talking the macdaddy, the whopper, the socks that should be talked about and written with respect, Socks.  She didn't really wrap the socks though, they just had a ribbon tied around them with a tag for who they were for.  And did I mention these were really nice socks?  And Devin was at work, hardly the place to be if he wants to actually enforce his "don't open presents" agenda.  I've totally already worn those socks.  I love them. > End Side Note

I have traditions now! And they're fun! And it is fun to look back and see how the family has changed, and grown, each year that we've done them.  Which yes, means that we actually take pictures! That's how sacred the tradition is in our home - for Tradition we will actually get out the camera, check to see it is charged, charge it if need be, and then use it!  So much effort!

Here you go! Pictures of our 5th Annual Rose Family and Friends Thanksgiving Day Turkey Run.

 I jog with Hanna.  I like her pace.


 Hallie ran 2 MILES.  My four year old.  2 Miles.  And I am not kidding, she's faster than me.


 Devin jogs with Hanna, pushes Heather in the jogging stroller.


 Heather gets a pass this year, but watch out next year, we'll lace up her shoes and off she'll go!


 Thanks for coming to run with us, Erin (and Craig)! You guys are so great.


How cute is she in her little running shorts and running shoes?
Admit it, she's super cute.
Devin keeps going on and on about her "running form"
I think it's becoming clear our girls got more than just their eyes from Daddy.

Altogether we did 17 miles.  Obviously that's when you add up all of our collective mileage.  Not bad though, not bad.  That's guilt-free pie eating, that is.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Let Us Be Fair

I, like just about everyone else on this planet, have at times bemoaned that life isn't fair.  To which I've been told, "life isn't fair."

And you can do either of two things with that statement, you can shrug your shoulders and say, "Yeah, I guess not.  Too bad."  Or you can rise up in righteous indignation and try to take on every case, and shoulder the burdens of every injustice.  I think one is exhausting in its absolute apathy, and one is exhausting in its entirety.

When I was in school, studying to be an elementary school teacher, I had a class where we discussed the "fair" issue.  My teacher made a point that I will never forget.  He said we had to stop thinking about "fairness" as a substitute word for "equal".  Fair could not mean equal, he taught us, but we had to look at it as "giving to a person what they need."  To illustrate, if I were to think of "fair" as making sure that every person got the same thing, then if I were giving Hallie (4 yrs old) a bike for Christmas, I would then get a bike for Hanna (2 yrs old) and a bike for Heather (9 mos old).  Which seems sort of ridiculous, doesn't it?  But let's say I started my Christmas shopping with Heather, and I got her stacking cups.  Ooooh, stacking cups!  So now I have to buy stacking cups for Hanna, and a set for Hallie.  My four year old is going to think Santa hates her.

If one of my children loves chocolate, and the other hates chocolate, it would not be "fair" to give all of my children chocolate in their stockings.  It would make more sense, and be more fair to the child who hates chocolate, if I only gave chocolates to the one who likes that, and I gave, say, Skittles or Swedish Fish or Reeses Pieces or all three to the other child.  Now that seems fair.

Now I know that it is a much larger world than just my children and their presents and stockings on Christmas morning.  I know that out in that big world there are people with real inequalities, and real injustices.  But I still hold to my definition of fair.  And I believe that it is the responsibility of every person on this earth to look around, and to not say, "Let's give every person the exact same equal thing, because that would be fair."  Because on a grander scale, chocolate and stacking cups aren't going to work for every person.  And even if they did work, it would not be what every person wants, or needs.  I believe it is our responsibility to look around and say, "What do you need?"  and then do the best we can in getting that person what they need, or better yet helping them get it for themselves.


An angry cynic might say that this solution is too small, that you can't possibly discover the wants and needs of every person who has wants and needs, and so the task becomes impossible.  When you look at it like that, it really is impossible.  But if you make this truly personal, and looked at a person face to face, talking to them, getting to know them, loving them, then the game changes.  If every one of us looked at the one person next to us,  and did for that person, and they in turn did what they could for the person next to them, and so on and so on, and if every person in the world did that, things would really start to happen.  You know what they say, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

Look around.  Who can you do for today?

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 14, 2012

What I Wore Today

Some people have really cool blogs, like my friend Alyx.  I've read through her archives, because, well when I don't get to the library often enough that's what I do.  I read alllllllllll the posts on people's blogs. Yeah.

Sometimes she does posts where she takes a picture of what she is wearing, and it is always really, really cute.  Like, she just wears nice clothes, you know?

I have other friends that do this as well.  And they always look just so good.

You all know, I never really look that good. I mean, sometimes I pull it together and I look decent enough, but I never look "trendy" or "like I belong in a fashion magazine".  Because I don't.  And I could say that I don't have the time, or the money, but really it's just the effort I don't want to put in.

Because I could make the time, and I could save the money, but I just don't have what it takes within to me to care that much.  I wish I did.  When I see pictures of them and how cute they look, and how they just really pull it all together to look stylish and sharp, I wish I did.

But, I am me and I have always been me and I'm very satisfied with that.  In high school I frequently borrowed clothing from my brother's closet.  Yes, my brother.  He's a cool dude, and he dressed pretty sharp, but well, I'm a girl.

I've since learned a few things about clothes, and I think I dress like a girl now, but wow, I've been through some awkward times.

This morning when I was getting dressed I was at an all time low of "I JUST DON'T CARE" so long as it covers my body from the wind, you know?  And when I was done and saw what I was wearing I couldn't help but laugh at myself a little.

In case you wanted to laugh at me, too.

A gray t-shirt.  On top of a pink long sleeve shirt.  With another grey t-shirt on top.

Represent.

I'm totally going out like this, too.  To stores. With people.  Also, that first gray shirt I'm wearing? That's the one I slept in.  Don't care.

My favorite part of the above picture. Hi Baby!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Homework

I was thinking about different posts I want to write for my blog, writing them in my head, then rewriting them, as we all do, but then I never sat down and actually wrote them.

For over a week now, no posts.  Usually when I go this long without posting something, it is because I am pregnant.  Everyone knows that.

I am not pregnant.

The only other reason for not posting is because I'm on vacation or have family in town, and even then sometimes I like to have posts scheduled, or I just write up a quick, silly one.

Because my blog is one of my favorite things about my life.  I was contemplating why, what is it that I love so much?  Why does it give me such a sense of satisfaction? Of accomplishment?  I mean, what have I really achieved here to feel proud about?

My working theory right now is that it is because I don't have school to go to anymore.  I miss the teachers with their plans and expectations, and I miss thinking and struggling, working creatively, feeling my own intelligence solving puzzles.  Quite frankly, I miss homework.

Now, sure, I was a nerd in high school but I was not the kid that sat in their room Friday night doing extra math homework because what else was there to do on a Friday night?  (Don't get me wrong, those are good kids.  And I will hope and pray that my daughters are like that.  In their rooms.  All weekend. With nothing but their textbooks and calculators.)

But really, anyone who knew me while I was in school is having a good chuckle right now.   I was the kid that ignored everything possibly related to school until the very tippy top last minute.  And I loved it.

Now this laid back attitude about school didn't always work for me.  There were some classes that were in subjects in that I really should have worked harder on, if I wanted to actually understand the material and get good grades.  Physics.  Geography.  But everything else pretty much just came to me.

I created challenges for myself.  I loved the rush, the feeling of exhilaration, knowing that I only had so many hours, minutes, seconds left until the teacher would come to collect, and it was my racing thoughts and furiously scribbling fingers against the demands of the clock.  Did you know homework could give you a wicked adrenaline rush?  Oh, I did. I did.

In high school I used to do my homework for afternoon classes in the cafeteria at lunchtime, probably irritating all my friends with "silicon and carbon, plus or minus four." I know at least two people reading this blog will know what I am talking about with that one.

In college I used to stay up until all hours of the crazy night finishing projects, or getting up at wicked early hours to work on them again.  And maybe sometimes I complained about it then.  So yeah, probably all the time I complained about it then.

That doesn't mean I don't miss it now.  And I think that that feeling is what I have attached to my blog.  Sure, there is no more sense of a deadline, and there is no teacher giving me a grade.  So now for a little honesty?  I think I give myself a grade on each post based on how many comments you leave.  The more comments, the better grade I give myself.  Or, sometimes, when I feel that it was a really great post, but it only gets a comment from my sister, I will look at my pageviews and see that it got 90 pageviews in a day, and I'll think, "Well, that's not too shabby". (For me, you know.)

Thus it goes.  My rush now is waking up in the morning to see if there are any comments.  Then to check my page views.  This blog gives me a feeling of accomplishment, that I am doing something that people see, and I have devised a way of grading myself on it.  Call me crazy.  Go ahead, in the comments.  Call me crazy.

Thanks.

Monday, December 3, 2012

WINNERS!

Basically, you are a winner.  Every single person who entered the ThanksGIVEaway won something.  YAY! 

Kristen won the Velocity perfume
Nicole won the acorn magnets
Stacy won the Thinking Of You perfume
Courtney won the Journey perfume
My mother won the Snow White watercolor
Alison won the Cinderella With Mice watercolor
Angela won the Cinderella Scrubbing watercolor
Heather won the Ariel with Green Legs watercolor
Lindsey won the chocolates
Kaylin won the Blue Bird Pillow
Alyx won the Green Bird Pillow
Angela won the Hair Bows
Michelle won the Three Black Mice on Rainbow Spool of Thread watercolor
Alison won the Cinderella and the Rainbow Dress watercolor

Congratulations!  If you don't think I have your address, send me an email or a facebook message.

Thanks for playing!

He Has Fans

I got this email today.

Dear Innovative Chef,
First, can I just start off by saying how excited I am to write you a letter?! I have watched every single one of your shows, and I am so inspired by how you always figure out a way to get the food made regardless of what ingredient or cookery item is missing. Amazing!!

I would be honored if you could take the time to help me with my dilemma. And I'm practically hyperventilating with the thought that perhaps my problem recipe might be featured on your show one day!

Okay, so I would like to make Tomato, Beef, and Barley Soup. The recipe calls for quick-cooking barley and tomato soup.

I have old fashioned barley and home canned tomato juice.

In the recipe, I combine the cooked beef, soup, water, celery, and barley. I heat it to boiling, let it simmer for 15 minutes until the barley is tender, add frozen vegetables, and then cook for additional 6 to 7 minutes, and then the soup is ready to eat.

I assume it will take a lot longer with old fashioned barley, and I am not completely sure what I need to do to get the consistency of soup from my tomato juice. And can this be turned into a crock pot soup, or is that a bad idea?

Thank you, Innovative Chef! You're my only hope!!

Your number two fan.



How awesome is that?  I hope the innovative chef (and here) has time to respond to his number two fan's query, but if not I'll do my best to help out.  I really like that they recognized that I am clearly the number one fan.  Clearly.

Also, perhaps this post is bringing to your mind the promise I made of pictures of his turkey baking masterpiece.  Well, I think we all know by now that the camera and I are not always the best of friends. But really, his creation this year looked a lot like his creation from this year, so just pretend.  He used different materials, but it pretty much came out the same. 

I DID however, get a picture of my pie.  Shoofly pie, that is.  It was delicious.  I was really disappointed in the one I made a few days later for some friends, but they were sweet and ate it anyway.




Sunday, December 2, 2012

I've Got Work To Do

A couple of days ago the family went on an outing to Menards.  Yes, it was about as fun as you're imagining.  Devin agonized for long minutes over every item in the electrical department, trying to figure out if it was what he needed.  Or not.  Or was it?

And finally the girls just couldn't take it any more, and they had been begging me and begging me to go see the Christmas trees.  Menards is a magical place, full of tools and pieces of pipe and lumber, but it also has clothes, and books, and some groceries!  AND in the very center of the store at Christmas time, they set up a huge Christmas display with all the trees and decorations you could ever want for your whole house for your whole life.

And so we went and spent our time there while Daddy scratched his head in electrical.  There was a nativity scene set up, and I said, "Oh look girls! See who is over here!"

They came over and Hanna said, "Oh mommy! It's Mary and Jesus and their baby!!"

Huh.  I guess we have some work to do about that.

Then yesterday I needed to distract them just for two more minutes.  I found this picture and gave it to them and asked them who was on it.  "Mary."  Good, good. "Baby Jesus." Ah, yes. Good. "And the wicked kings."

I looked closer at the picture. "Don't you mean the wise men or the shepherds?" 



"Nope, those are the wicked kings."

In her defense, we've been reading the Old Testament, in the part after Abraham dies when all the kings of the Israelites are wicked.  So...

Yeah, we've got some work to do on clearing up this whole Christmas story for them.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Play Time

There are always choices in life.  Say, when your children pull the shoes out of the closet every time you put them away, you have gads of options:
 You could
1. Scream
2. Leave the shoes out
3. Put them away again
4. Laugh
5. Take pictures

I've done all of those things, except the screaming, but I'm young and so are they, I figure there's plenty of time for that.



My favorite is when I choose to laugh about it.

ALSO, we're almost ready to close the ThanksGIVEaway and announce winners, have you put in your bid for one of Hallie's or Hanna's watercolors? They are a hot item this time around!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Wrote A Novel

Maybe you've heard?  I've been writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month, and it ends tomorrow.  I asked my friends on facebook to challenge me with words to use in my last push to finish.  They really came through for me with a whole list of crazy words.  To thank them, I wrote this chapter.  I put all of their words in, except for a handful that I had already used in a different chapter.  So this is for you, friends. Thanks for supporting me when probably what you really wanted to do was type in all caps, "WE DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR NOVEL."  But if you do care, check out my web badge off to the side. That's my prize for winning.--------------------------------->
And now, I present to you, a chapter in my novel.  Also, you may want to read this with a dictionary.  The words I was instructed to use are in bold.  ALSO, this is a REALLY rough draft, so it is fine if you criticize me (which I really don't mind) just don't hate, ok?


62 Years Ago, in the Summer

Language ... has created the word 'loneliness' to express the pain of being alone.  And it has created the word 'solitude' to express the glory of being alone.
- Paul Tillich

At eighteen years old, Ray thought he knew something about pain.  He had lost his mother when he was only eight, and then had suffered a severe injury that required him to learn to walk again at 16, but he had never felt pain quite like this before.  The whole mess had started when he was finally healed enough after the accident to go to the common room to “hang out” with the other teenagers who were in the hospital convalescing.  His initial thought when they first pushed him into the room was that it was reminiscent of a really bad high school dance.  The girls were all shuffling around on one side of the room, and the boys were all staring stupidly off into space on the other side of the room.  The nurse began pushing him in that direction, but he waved his arm, “That way,” he commanded her.  If he had to sit in this ridiculous room with these sad people, he would at least be on the side with the girls.

And then he saw her.  At first sight there was not anything special about her, if you discounted everything about her.  He nodded to the nurse that she could leave and he pushed gently on his wheels to send his chair a little closer in her direction.  She was showing another girl pictures in a photo album.  He sat there for a moment, listening, until he felt that he had been near them for long enough that he could slip his presence  into the conversation.  “Mind if I take a look?” he asked, casually.

She looked up at him sharply, and it occurred to him that even though he knew he had been sitting there for some time, this was the first notice that she had taken of him.  He could feel his scalp tingling as the sweat began to pool.  She looked him over slowly, starting at his shoes.  He had never been so carefully examined in all his life, he supposed even the doctors who had examined him after his accident had failed to be so thorough.  And he knew, with the clarity that usually only comes just before death why all the boy were on the other side of the room.

Just when he thought she could not make him any more uncomfortable, she lifted the book off her lap and offered it to him.  “Sure, strange boy, they’re only my personal photos.  Why would I mind if you had a look at them?”

Her tone was so poised, and her spine so rigidly set that he was afraid to actually take the book from her.  She thrusted it forward more energetically, and he had no option but to take it.  He opened it to the first picture, and saw a small girl in a pink baby stroller.  He looked up at her, the question evident in his eyes.  “That’s my little sister, Lucy.”  She said, her tone softer now.  Her friend got up and walked away to talk to someone else, and the girl moved over on the couch closer to him.  He turned to the next page in the album.  The next pictures showed a dying basil plant on one side and a peanut plant on the other.  Again he looked up at her, again the question burning on his tongue.  “Those are my plants at home, my mom takes pictures of them to show me so I can see how well she is taking care of them while I am…here.”  He nodded his head to show he understood.  He turned to the next page and saw a picture of what must have been her, smiling wildly in a kayak, floating on the bluest water he had ever seen.  On the opposite page there was a picture of a loaf of bread sitting on the counter.  By now she knew what he expected and she answered before he had a chance to give her the question stare, “Yes, that was me in a kayak last year at the lake, and that is a loaf of bread.  My mom put those in to remind me of my favorite things, I guess to give me something to look forward to when I get out of here.  Sometimes I dream about the smell of baking bread. Have you ever dreamt a smell, before?”  He shook his head no.
“Look, what’s the matter with you?  You ask to look at my book, is that all you know how to say?  Do you have halitosis or something?”  The rigidity was back in her spine, the arrogance had returned in her voice.  Again, feeling almost as if he wanted to mock her, he shook his head no.  He found himself somewhat surprised at his own sassiness.
She looked him over again, and for reasons he could not fathom she turned the page on her own and continued talking, as if her previous outburst had never happened.
“And here is the penultimate one, it is my favorite.  I love the way you can actually see, because of the angle of the shot, the rhizomatically inclined plants…” The force of his stare caused her to stop talking.  Did she really always talk like that, or was she just showing off for him?  She didn’t need to use weird words to impress him, he had never seen a vixen like her before.
“So, you’re kind of smart, is that it?”  he asked her, using his voice again but immediately regretting it as if his own vocabulary made his intelligence naked in front of her.
“I do consider myself to be rather fecund, yes.” She answered, a smug smile on her lips.  Her lips were a shocking red against the sallow color of her skin, how had he not noticed before how sick she looked?  What was it about her that was so fascinating?  It couldn’t be her looks, because that would make him shallow, and it couldn’t be her attitude because that just drove him crazy. 

He had a lot of time on his hands however, and if she wanted to play smart guy, he would show her.  He asked his father to bring him a dictionary and a thesaurus next time he came.  Once his father had brought it to him, he stealthily hid the bulky volume under his pillow as well as he could, he did not want to have to explain to anyone why he had them.  He knew if he worked at it, he could make himself a contender in this game she was playing.

He asked the nurse to wheel him in to the common room where he knew she typically spent her time.  He saw Kara in her favorite corner, in the couch by the window.  A nurse was handing her her meds, and he smiled.  He knew this one.
“I see you are having your preprandial medicines.  I just took mine,” he unconsciously puffed out his chest as he said the words, but immediately deflated when she laughed at him.
“What did you say?” she asked, her tone haughty and condescending.
“Oh, I was just referring to your little, you know,” he began stumbling, “preprandial medicine,” he sputtered off, the look she was giving him scaring him into silence.
He wanted to retreat to his room.  She had scored the ace this time but he was not giving up.  He gestured to a nurse that he wanted to go back to his room, and resolved to work even harder.  In the coming days he no longer cared who saw him with the open dictionary and thesaurus, furiously scribbling notes in his journal.  This game was on.
As soon as he saw her when he was rolled back into the room the next day he imagined himself defenestrating her.  Either that, or just really, really kissing her.

He continued his game, half seriously trying to impress her and half just enjoying the way it made her act so superior each time he used one of his new fancy words.

The day he actually did try to kiss her and she rejected him was the day he knew that he knew nothing about pain.  Even realizing that how he felt could be described as maudlin only made him feel worse.  He had been a football player, and now he was nothing but a rejected fake intellectual in a wheelchair.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

HAIRCUTS

Turns out I sort of thought maybe children's hair cuts didn't cost that much money.  And maybe I have a skewed sense of "what doesn't cost that much money".  I called all over town and was stunned by the prices they were charging.

Also, I have never once in my life walked in to get a haircut without my mother with me.  True story.

What that means is I had no idea what to do about a tip.  How does it work?

I kept putting it off and putting it off because I just didn't want to deal with any of it, but the little snips on the side of her head were really starting to bother me, so I got them all bundled up this morning.

Which, by the way, is the most frustrating part of late fall. I got them way overbundled because yesterday it was windy and snowing and literally freezing outside, and today it was balmy and almost nice. 

Picture me, then, wearing way too many clothes, bulky and overheated and uncomfortable, sweating  because I don't know how to tip, sweating when I realize I left my wallet in the house and I have no cash, and panicking because I forgot to look up the address of the place and all I know is the street name.

Yeah, I put the car in reverse and backed out anyway.  Life is short, peeps.  You figure it out, right?

My plan: I would go to the bank and just ask for cash. 
Then I would drive up and down the road until I saw it.
Then I would wing it on the tip.  Just go with the moment, you know?

The bank was a success, and as I was pulling out I remembered that the WalMart has a little hair cutting place, and the Walmart is right next to my bank.  New plan.

And bonus, the Walmart price (this will shock no one, I think) was the cheapest anywhere.

Done, and done.

Also, I tipped two dollars.  Just right?  Excessive?  Offensive? Why am I so socially inept?


Hanna got her hair cut as well.  The cuts were 9.95 each.  I think they made Hallie's hair look pretty good, considering.  And I got to keep most of the length.


Friday, November 23, 2012

November

You know what? November really has a lot going on.

Daylight Savings Time.
Thanksgiving.
Black Friday.
Small Business Saturday.
Cyber Monday.
Movember.
My brother's Birthday.

and so on, you see.

For me, the real big thing this November has been my participation in the insanity that is NaNoWriMo. (National Novel Writing Month).

I mean, who writes 50,000 words in 30 days?  Crazy people do.

Here's what I've learned.

1. A chapter can be any length I want, I'm the author!
2. I can set up the chapters however I want, I'm the author!
3. I have to make my characters say things.  Apparently, I'm the author.
4. I have to make my characters move around, otherwise they don't do anything.
5. It isn't actually all that easy.

And now you know what I know about writing a novel.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Innovative Chef, Strikes Again!

ThanksGIVEaway here!

Devin and I are fairly confident in our Thanksgiving meal, we know our dishes, we each have our roles, and it is a really low key, low stress, delicious day for us.  In fact, last night Devin was lamenting that he always felt leading up to Thanksgiving like it was going to be this wild hustle and bustle in the kitchen, and then he was always let down because there was never enough to actually do.  (Please keep in mind, we make every single dish from scratch.  So basically, he's crazy when he thinks there isn't enough to do.  I think there's plenty!)

Long time readers of my blog (all three of you, hi!) might remember a post I did about the "Innovative Chef".  Well, this morning he rose again in triumph and glory.

It was like this, see.  We got out the roasting pan (one of his students gave him a few years ago, they are always giving us presents...)  and I put the vegetables in the bottom while Devin fought with the large bird in the sink.  I got the lemon juice, vegetable oil, and lemon pepper ready.  Devin wrestled the bird into the roasting pan and we prepared the bottom.  So far, smelling really good.  He flipped the bird and we prepared the other side.  All done, so pretty!

I put the lid to the roasting pan on.  Or, I tried to anyway.  There was a good full inch between the bottom of the roasting pan and the lid.  The bird was too big.  TOO BIG.  In mock horror I said to the girls, "Oh no, the bird does not fit in the roasting pan, whatever will we do?!"

And Devin said, "I guess we'll have to improvise." a light gleaming in his eyes.

He ran to get some shoes, put them on and then ran into the backyard.  He was back moments later with an old tomato cage in his hands and a triumphant look on his face.  He clomped down to the basement where I heard all sorts of wild banging and crashing.

He reemerged from the basement, put together some sort of wire contraption on the bird, and nodded his head, satisfied.

The bird was only six minutes late for her beauty treatment on the bottom rack of the oven.

I almost think Devin wished it had taken longer for him to figure something out.

You want pictures?  Right now I have to go get ready for the  5th Annual Rose Family and Friends Turkey Run. (I miss you, Sandy!)  But I will take some when it comes out, deal?

if you're curious, also on our menu:
sweet potatoes
mashed potatoes
stuffing (from homemade bread)
rolls
shoofly pie
pumpkin pie
jello fruit salad
green beans
corn
cranberry sauce (ah, we do not make this ourselves.  maybe someday?)

I HOPE YOU HAVE A DELICIOUS THANKSGIVING.  WE HAVE SO MUCH TO BE GRATEFUL FOR.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

We Take Walks

Don't forget to check out this year's ThanksGIVEaway!

It is practically criminal to have a sunny day in the middle of November, warm enough to go outside in just a t-shirt, and then NOT go outside. Am I right? 

First we had to get everyone dressed. this included all of the real living human beings, and the baby dolls as well, of course.  Hallie was too hot in what she was wearing (one long sleeve t-shirt, and three short sleeve t-shirts - she got herself dressed this morning), and I had to take my top layer off as we walked as well.

Next we had to get all of the strollers ready.  Snacks, purses, sunglasses, and Hallie had to draw a map.

That's her newest thing, drawing maps for us so we don't get lost when we go on walks or bike rides around the block.  Every so often she'll pull it out and slowly unfold it and look at it for a moment. 

Then she'll boldly declare, "The map says when we see a turn, we should turn." 

"The map says do not go in the road."

"The map says if it is straight we go straight, if it turns we should turn."

I would just love to know what my neighbors think of our procession.

 My crew at takeoff.


 Don't worry, that creepy looking shadow? That's just me.


 Hallie stops the parade to tell us where we will be going next.

 And on we go.

But seriously, do you think my neighbors are laughing at us behind their curtains?  

I do a lot of good things on these walks.  I've returned lost cats, and money I found blowing around someone's yard, and I've made friends, and we've waved to dogs, and... given my neighbors a hearty chuckle.  They say laughing is good for you.

I know what's good for me is getting out and enjoying the sunshine while it lasts!

ThanksGIVEaway

You might remember ThanksGIVEaway from last year?  If not, it is basically my way of saying thanks for being awesome, fellow humans.  And it is my way of focusing on the second part of Thanksgiving.  We are all pretty good at the "Thanks" part, so this is my way of tuning in to the "Give" part.  Nothing huge or fancy, just a few little items I put together, little gifts from me to you.  And since I only have what, ten? people who read this blog, your chances of winning are sky high.  All you have to do is leave a comment telling me what you'd like to win!  I prefer one comment per item, it just helps me stay organized.  But I don't really have any rules, and I am reasonably intelligent, so I can probably figure it out even if you want more than one thing and put it in the same comment.

ThanksGIVEaway closes on Dec. 1, 2012 at midnight.  Winners will be announced Dec. 3, 2012.

Ok, let's play!

 1. set of everday magnets  (green plaid)


 2. set of Autumn magnets (acorns in blue, orange, and brown.


 3. Mary Kay sample perfume (Velocity)


4. Mary Kay sample perfume (Thinking of You) - this is what I wear!


 5. Mary Kay sample perfume (Journey)


 6. Snow White and Prince Charming, a watercolor (by Amy Rose) this one is unfinished because Hallie cut up my favorite paintbrush... but maybe my mother will still want it? ha ha ha. p.s. I spent hours on it.






7. Cinderella with Mice, a watercolor (by Amy Rose).  I am crazy proud of the mice -------------------------->

8. Cinderella Scrubbing, a watercolor (by Amy Rose)



9. Ariel with Green Legs, a watercolor (by Hallie Rose)


10. Three black mice on Rainbow Spool of Thread, a watercolor (by Hallie Rose)


11. Cinderella and the Rainbow Dress, a watercolor (by Hanna Rose)



 12. Baby Girl Black Hair Bows (one on green and one on blue)




13. Green Bird Pillow


14. Blue Bird Pillow

15. Assorted Homemade Holiday Chocolates (not pictured because I haven't made them yet.)

(also, I was super proud of myself for the birds. I've never appliqued anything before.  The blue one also has a wing, you just can't see it in the picture).

Thursday, November 15, 2012

To Be Like Heather

Hanna was sitting on my lap in front of the computer.  I think she was begging for "Phigeas and Ferv" (Phineas and Ferb) and I was telling her that we were not going to watch any shows.  I think I was trying to organize our finances, or trying to write in my novel for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  Suddenly I paused in whatever I was doing, my attention diverted by the sound of scissors snipping behind me.  I trust my girls with scissors, they will spend hours cutting shapes out of paper, and I have never had any trouble with them aside from the time Hanna cut a bunch of tiny holes in my favorite of her dresses.  But I had a very stern discussion with her about that, and after she was grounded from scissors for a while I let them have their scissors back.

Am I naive?

Am I too trusting?

Or is this just one of those inevitable childhood things, like falling off your bike and scraping your knee, or dropping your ice cream cone and picking it up and eating it anyway?

I listened to the sound of the snipping for a second, because something odd about it had alerted me.  I could not identify what was unusual about it, so I turned around in my chair.  Hallie was holding my favorite paintbrush*, and had clipped it all the way to the nub.  She could hear the sadness in my voice when I asked her why she did that.
"I don't know." She softly said.  I sighed, took the paintbrush away from her, and then took all the scissors. (There were five pairs on her little table.)
"I think these scissors will go in time out for a little while.  That was mommy's favorite paintbrush, Hallie."
I wanted her to know that she had ruined something special to me, but I didn't want to make a real big deal out of it, because after all, it is just a paint brush.  She still seemed inordinately sad to me, more sad than she should have been given my fairly laid back response so I tried to cheer her up.
I said we would watch Phigeas and Ferv, after all.  They both sat on my lap cuddled close, and I kept trying to get Hallie to smile.  It was a hard sell, and I couldn't figure out what exactly she was so worried about.
I scooted them off my lap so we could go eat lunch, and as I bent to stand up from the chair something on the floor caught my eye.
There were piles of long, blond hair strewn across the carpet.
It was not a lot of hair, but a couple good sized clumps here and there, all of varying lengths.
I inhaled sharply, but a quick glance at Hallie and Hanna's hair had me thoroughly confused.
Whose hair is this? I demanded from them.  They were quiet.  "I don't know," was their universal response. I tried over and over, and got nothing from Hallie but "I don't know."

Hanna began offering up other theories. "I think it was Ashley**.  I think Ashley came over and got the scissors and cut off all her hair."
I told her that wasn't possible, because the hair was not there a few minutes ago, and Ashley hasn't come over today.  Hanna continued to offer the Ashley theory, completely unperturbed by its absolute impossibility.  Hallie had retreated into absolute silence.  I pulled Hanna to me and ran my fingers through her hair.  I couldn't find any uneven spots.***
I did the same to Hallie's, and I could not find any in hers either.  I kept looking.  Finally I gave up, and we went upstairs to get some lunch.
We were sitting on the couch, and Hallie was still in a very somber mood.  I pulled her onto my lap to try and cuddle her into smiles again.  I did not know what was bugging her.  I looked at her dark brown eyes, so like her daddy's, and it hurt me to see her so sad and not know why.  As I looked so closely at her face, some of her hair was pushed forward, caused by static? and I could see wisps that were only as long as her ear.
I pulled her around.  Chunks of her hair on the right side of her face were missing.
"I don't know." is all she would say when I asked her why she did it.  Then I asked her why she told me she had not done it.  "I don't know."

I told her that is called lying, and lying is not a good thing to do, and did she lie because she thought I would be mad?  She would not stray from her now oft repeated line, "I don't know."
Hanna offered her idea, "Maybe it was just gas."

I was wavering between being upset by the hair cut, and upset by how sad she was.  It is in moments like these that I don't know what to do as a parent.  I told her we would go and get a haircut when Heather woke up, to fix her hair.  I asked her what kind of a hair cut she wanted.

She said, "I want my hair to look like Heather's."

Well, that's not going to happen.  I don't know how short we'll go, but I tell you this.

I will be crying.

*Don't get excited by my having a "favorite" paintbrush. I realize that implies some sort of talent, but all it really means is my girls love painting and so I sit with them and paint sometimes, and my paintings look barely better than theirs do.
**The name has been changed to protect the actual friend that Hanna was blaming.  I don't know why Hanna kept blaming the girl.  She is one of their favorite friends, and we really love her.  I don't know if her mom reads my blog, but I know that people she knows do, so... name changed just in case it would make anyone feel awkward to know that my children were blaming them.
***Any unusual, unexpected uneven spots.  Hanna's hair is still growing in, and I don't keep it trimmed to be even with the new growth, so there is a lot of uneven spots, but none that looked like it was caused by giving herself a haircut.

She'll understand when she's older why it made me cry, that she wanted to go from this hair:
 to this hair, great as it is: 
No offense to you, Heather.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Come On, Let's Go

We are all struggling with something.  Each of us has battled something, at some time, in life.  Do not give up.




I started crying when he said, "You feel like giving up and then all of a sudden you have someone standing there saying, "Come on. Let's go..."

Which part made you cry?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Conversations

I've been working on my novel for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I'll tell you what, man, that whole thing is intense.  It's like three minute fiction on serious steroids.  I have a little over 40,000 words still to write, but I just needed a break ladies, a break!

So, I'm writing over here.  Yeah, that's how I take a break.  But see, you guys don't demand 50,000 words from me.  You don't even WANT that many words from me on here, am I right?

I have this feeling floating around somewhere inside my guts that you are feeling like you haven't had a good solid glimpse into the lives of the H's lately, and you're craving some of that craziness.

I will indulge you.

Heather has been given a new nickname, Bugeater.  Picture this: Hallie and Hanna streaming through the house, screaming "Bugeater! The Bugeater is coming! Hurry, get away! Here comes the Bugeater!"  and hot on their heels comes Heather, crawling furiously after her much faster, much bigger, much louder sisters.  Poor Bugeater.  She'll get hers someday, count on it.

Also, it makes me laugh every time they call her Bugeater.  When I tell her this story someday, I'll skip over the part where I thought it was funny, yeah?

Sometimes in the morning, particularly ones after a bad night with Heather (or Hanna, or Hallie, or all three) I will still be dozing in bed after everyone else is awake.  Devin will give them all breakfast, and then he will bring me my medicine and put Heather in bed next to me, kiss me goodbye, and tell me to have a good day.  Hallie and Hanna will trickle upstairs after they finish their cereal, and they will either crawl in bed with Heather and I, or they will find something to play with for a while, waiting for me to crack open my eyeballs.  The following happened in that hazy, dazy early morning hours, and so I don't really know what was going on, but this is what I heard Hanna say from across the room.

"Let's kill them! Kill, kill kill!"  then some sort of crashing sound as she banged something against something else.  "Kill, kill, kill!"

I wish I knew more about that story.

Today I had a friend come over to play our piano, and she has two little boys that she was going to bring with her.  I told the girls that some friends would be coming over to play with, and lest they think it was Zaida, or Jayne and Olivia, I made sure to tell them that these friends were boys.  A few hours later, and their patience was wearing thin.

Hanna, (whining) "When are my boyfriends going to come?"
Hallie, (demanding) "I WANT my BOYFRIENDS to come NOW."
And see, here I thought I had another good ten years before I had to start hearing that.

In the car, we usually listen to "Alice the Camel" (Hanna's request) or "Hankey Doodle" (also known as Yankee Doodle.) (Hallie's request).  Occasionally, however, I like to just listen to the good old fashioned radio.  So I had it on and was bebopping along to "my" music, and then I sort of drifted out of it and wasn't paying so much attention anymore.  A song came on that I didn't know, and about halfway into it I got tired of the sound of it, I wasn't even paying attention to the words, and I thought, "Why am I listening to this?" so I turned it off.  Just in time to hear Hanna ask, "Mommy, why did he say naked?"
I was shocked.  "What, Hanna?"
"Why did he say naked, in the song, mommy?"
I was having trouble grasping her meaning.  "What?"
Hallie stepped up to explain the basics to me.  "Mom, in the song, he said 'everybody should be naked."  There was a quiet pause.  Hallie continued, "But, mommy, why would he say that, because I think everybody should be dressed, right?"
Another quiet pause, and I am frantically trying to figure it out if I actually have to have that conversation with my two and four year olds, what do you say when your children ask you why a man is singing about wanting everyone to be naked? Then I was saved.
Hallie, "oooh! Mommy! A jack-o-lantern!"

And off they went, discussing the delights of a pumpkin at Halloween.  And that's when I solemnly vowed that if I was going to have the radio on in front of my kids I better be paying closer attention.  And, to just not have the radio on in front of them ever again.


And that pretty well sums up what has been going on around here lately.  Oh, well, and Heather has two new teeth, so she's a real eating machine now that she has uppers and bottoms, and also she started clapping two days ago.  Clapping! It's my favorite thing in the world, I've decided.  Those two pudgy little hands coming together smack! smack! smack!  She looks so proud of herself.



Monday, November 5, 2012

The Big Day


I am looking forward to tomorrow.  I know a lot of people are tired of this election, and I thought I would be as well.  Yet all I feel is excitement as I think about going to my polling place tomorrow, picking up my ballot and pencil, filling in my little bubbles, and then proudly wearing my sticker throughout the day.

I love this country.  I love the voices we are allowed to have, and I love that we don't have to agree, but we can still choose to get along.  I don't know how you are going to vote, but tomorrow I am filling in a few circles on both sides of the party lines.

(In the above picture, Fischer is a Republican and Kerrey is a Democrat.)

Writing Challenges

So they posted the official winner of the Three Minute Fiction contest for NPR's All Things Considered yesterday. If you'd like to read that, you can find it here.  If you want to read my personal favorites from the "favorites" posted throughout the competition, you can find them here and here and here.

And, here was my contribution.  If you've read the entries that I linked to above you'll see that mine was quite, quite different.  I was pleased with it nonetheless.  I'd love to hear your feedback, if you loved it, hated it, whatever you thought about it, let me know!


"I scurry out of my dark sanctuary as quickly as I can. My leg is finally starting to heal enough that I am confident I can get what I need and return to the darkness before anyone finds me.

I have to hurry to get the crumbs before the vacuums come. My leg still makes it hard for me to move as quickly as I once did. It feels strange to be out in the open again, but I do not let myself be slowed down by that either. I see the forgotten crumbs spread out across the carpet before me and choose the most efficient route to collect them all. I run past the three large south facing windows until I am by his oak desk. That is where the best crumbs always are. I stuff my cheeks as I go, holding nuts and dried fruit in my arms when my mouth is full. I scan the room over one last time to see if I have missed any, then race back to my dark place where I am safe.

Only when I am back in the quiet, soothing darkness can I enjoy the bits of food that have fallen like manna from heaven. I put my little paws together and take a moment to appreciate what I have been given. I reflect back on the hard times. Once, his wife made him go on a diet. The crumbs were especially lean during that time. I pause in my chewing, remembering how miserable those cold days had been, when my stomach was hard with hunger. I shudder as I think of it. My mind almost wanders to the other bad time, but just before that image of cheese nestled daintily on the metal spring comes into my mind I begin humming softly and turn my attention fully back to my food. I try not to notice that I am rubbing my bad leg.

My snack is almost gone when I hear the door to his room opening again. I stiffen, and look out to see if it is the cleaning people. They make so much noise I can never get my after lunch nap until they are finished and gone. When I see it is not them with their vacuums, I turn away and head toward my soft rags in the back to have a little rest.

I am drifting off to sleep, the steady drone of their voices is a lullaby in my ears.  “...Yes, Mr. President...economy...  No, Mr. President...employment...  ...more trail mix, sir... right away. ...discuss reelection.”

I smile. My whiskers twitch. I rub my tummy, anticipating the feast I will have when I wake from my nap. I feel my body get heavy as my subconscious succumbs to the darkness of slumber. I don’t know what reelection means, but I do know sunflower seeds and dried fruit."


Ah, so that was really, really fun.  And I have now joined up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I am getting excited for that now as well!  Here we go!!