Thursday, January 31, 2008


The beautiful Tee has tagged me. Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person’s blog who tagged you. 2. Post these rules on your blog. 3. List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself. 4. Tag seven random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs. 5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.

I know I've done this before, but there are just so many weird things about me, I don't think I'll have a problem coming up with seven more.

  1. My DVD collection is all in alphabetical order. I tried doing that with the boys' DVDs but you can imagine how long that lasted.
  2. I love the smell of libraries and bookstores, each very distinctive.
  3. I picked my college based on the fact that not only did they have an awesome writing program, but I wasn't required to take any math while there. (There was a math OR science requirement and I love science).
  4. My college roommate and I were born at the same hospital three days apart, but we never met before college.
  5. Kelly Ripa was born four days before me, but I don't think she was born in the same hospital.
  6. I took piano lessons for ten years and I still can't just sit down and play something. I have to practice a LOT.
  7. I have been online since the 80s, back when we had a chat-room type thing called CB and a service called Compuserve. Yeah, I'm a geek from way back.
I'm not tagging anyone right now, but if you want to do it, grab it and go!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Can't wait to get LOST!

LOST premieres tomorrow night! I know, it's just a tv show, but it's quite possibly the best, most well-thought-out, coolest show ever put on prime time. I have re-watched the third season, gone back over any possible holes in my theories, and now I'm ready to be dazzled. Here are some of my predictions for this season:
  • Patchy, a.k.a. Mikhail, will show up alive again. He's already survived a sonic blast and a harpoon through the chest, why not a grenade?
  • Charlie will continue to feature prominently, despite the fact that he, too, is dead.
  • Hurley will be filled with new-found confidence after his role as hero on the beach.
  • Locke will become even crazier (what happened to this character? I feel sorry for him)
  • Jack will continue to be filled with self-righteousness until he realizes he's completely wrong (not much of a prediction really - it's pretty obvious)
  • We will find out about a secret cloning lab on the island - the real reason Mikhail keeps showing up.
Okay, that's enough for now. Can you tell I'm excited? Can you?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"Free" day

I'm feeling a lot better today, like I might actually be able to get some work done. Co-op went well today and I got to tell a few more people about my cooking blog. See, one of the reasons I started it was because people kept asking me what I was doing to lose weight. Now, I can direct them there. I got some very nice compliments today, too. One mom told me she could tell I'd been working out more. That was good to hear, especially since I've been working out an hour a day every day since January 2 and didn't see much difference myself. Sometimes it takes an outsider.

Today my goal is to get some housework done, since we don't do school at home on co-op days. I have major vacuuming and floor scrubbing, not to mention laundry and general straightening. And then I've got my samba lesson (aka my dancing workout DVD). Dude, I could SO be on Dancing With the Stars. I'm just dying to take ballroom classes now. I tend to cha-cha my way across the kitchen. The boys just roll their eyes, but you watch - one of them is going to start asking for dance lessons. You should see the 3-year-old doing the waltz steps with me!

Monday, January 28, 2008


Four days until LOST premieres!

I spent the whole weekend in bed. I'm feeling somewhat better today, but still not great. I got up to do a few things, and then went right back to bed again. I'll probably do the same today, especially since we have co-op tomorrow.

I guess I should be glad this is the first bad cold everybody's gotten. Two of the boys haven't really had it, so here's hoping they don't get it. Hubby, unfortunately, got it too. It seems like we were all coming down with it before he left Tuesday night and by the time he got back Thursday, he and I both felt lousy.

Maybe I'll make some chicken soup later.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Clean sweep

So many thoughts are running through my head this morning, I'm not even sure in which direction to go. I need to do school with the boys, but I'm obsessed with the idea of cleaning my house. The type of cleaning usually reserved for spring. You see, this is the first time in 14 years that I will be able to remove all the dog hair from all the corners, and it will stay gone. On the other hand, this makes me sad, like how dare I removed all traces of the dog? Shouldn't I just look at those piles of hair and smile a bittersweet smile full of memories? Ugh, I'm so confused.

Of course, eventually I'm going to have to clean. I'm not so sentimental that I will leave dog hair dust bunnies to roam around my house indefinitely. Maybe just for another day or two.

The boys are handling the whole thing very well, but the five year old already wants a new dog. I have firmly vetoed this idea. It's not something I want to do again right now. But just a quick question - what do you people without dogs do with table scraps? After dinner last night, I was utterly stumped. Throw it in the trash? Doesn't that start to stink? I could toss it in the yard, I suppose. After 14 years with dogs, it's an adjustment, let me tell you!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Snack time!

Here's my entry in Snackalicious Super Dishes. It's easy and yummy - what more could you ask for?

Cheesy Salsa Dip
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 16 oz. jar of salsa
  • 1 pound Velveeta or similar product
Brown and drain the ground beef. Cut the Velveeta into chunks for easier melting. Then combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and turn it on low. Stir occasionally until the cheese is thoroughly melted, then serve with chips or crackers. Leave the slow cooker on low to keep everything nice and melty. Mmmmm!

Thanks, everybody

Thanks so much for all your comments yesterday about my dog. She was a good dog, and she'll be missed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

She's gone

I just got home from taking the kids to the dentist and found the dog had died while we were gone. Naturally, Hubby is out of town, so I have to take care of this myself. We're just going to take the body outside and cover it up until he gets back. {{Sigh}}

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Snack party!

You might have noticed this little banner over in my sidebar:

Robin is hosting a recipe carnival, and also giving away cookbooks. And since I must feed my cookbook addiction, I will be posting my favorite snack recipes, both here and on Jana Cooks. Please join us, so we can all snack well on game day!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Where do my kids get this weird streak?

"Mommy, it hurts when I do this," said my five year old. He then bent in half, twisted his upper body to the right, and pointed his right arm at the ceiling.

"Well," I said, "I can see that would be a problem. I mean, that's something people do all day long." Heavy on the sarcasm.

The older boys heard me and came to see what was happening. "It hurts when he does this," I said, demonstrating.

"And this," he said, bending in half and putting both hands on his backside.

"So you can see the problem. It's tough to go even five minutes without doing that." The boys started giggling. "But try not to," I directed him.

"Okay." They were all laughing and imitating his painful poses.

"And now," I said, "I have to go upstairs." And I bent in half, twisted sideways and pointed my right arm up. See, it's a very useful pose.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Shop once, eat all week

Don't forget to go pick up your weekly shopping list over at Jana Cooks! There are some ideas for weekend dinners there, too!

Friday, January 18, 2008

I'm the doofus in the back

Using my new workout video this morning, I started to think about how wrong it is that those people in the back, the ones following along with the routine, never mess up. Sure, every now and then one of them might step on the left foot instead of the right, but mostly they keep up with whatever the leader does.

I have been using this video for over a week now, and my feet still get tangled on some of the simplest steps. "We're going to do grapevine with a whisk," Edyta says in her this-is-going-to-be-so-simple voice. And then they all do this thing with their feet that totally baffles me. "Add the arms," she orders, but I am still trying to figure out the feet. I end up just walking sideways. Hey, at least I'm moving.

I think they should put someone in the back who's a total screw-up. When you start to feel discouraged, you could watch her stumbling and tripping and finally just walking back and forth with a shrug. You'd have someone to relate to. Eventually, you will learn the steps, while she remains clueless, and then you'll have a nice sense of superiority and accomplishment. And isn't that what exercise is all about?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Doggy Death Watch

It's an odd feeling waiting for a pet to die. Four weeks ago, the vet told us our dog wouldn't last 24 hours. She's still here. But I can tell she's wearing out. She used to follow me around, all over the house. Last night, she couldn't even make it up to the first floor, let alone the second floor bedrooms. That's got to be hard for her. She's always wanted to be where the people are.

Four weeks ago, we all said goodbye to her. The boys cried. They slept downstairs with her when she couldn't climb the steps. Then, she seemed to get better. Slowly, they've forgotten that she was going to die. For a week, they gave her hugs and petted her every night before bed, in case she didn't see the morning. Now, they tell her to move if she's in their way.

But I can tell she's winding down. Like a clock ticking slower and slower until its pendulum stops swinging altogether, one night she will exhale and that will be that. Part of me has started to believe that she just doesn't want to leave us, that sheer loyalty to her family is keeping her here. But mostly I just try to show her all the love I can, so she leaves us knowing she was needed and wanted. And I don't think any of us will realize how much until she's gone.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ode to Kashi

Mid-month Every Month at PENSIEVE
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This month's poetry form is terza rima, which honestly, I had never heard of. This is disturbing to me as someone with a degree in English, but oh well. I've heard of it now, and that's what matters. So without further ado, my tribute to my favorite snack foods.

Ode to Kashi

Just two years past I feared I'd never find
A snack my stricter diet would allow.
A company called Kashi changed my mind.

Inferior snacks to Kashi must all bow.
The GoLean bars I tried first made me grin.
They fit my diet. Let me tell you how.

Low glycemic load will keep me thin.
Their seven whole grains keep me healthy, too.
When choosing snack food, Kashi always wins.

Chocolate peanut, chocolate almond - ooooh
Delicious and nutritious, they're the best.
And then I found out they make crackers, too!

But would these Kashi crackers pass the test?
I tried them and was thrilled with their great taste.
As crackers go, these really are the best.

Not a single crumb will go to waste.
With hummus or with cheese they go so well.
Go and get yourself a box posthaste!

Try a Kashi pizza - oh, the smell
Of chicken, cheese and peppers on their crust!
How do they make all these things so well?

If you have not tried Kashi, then you must!
Their snack food leaves all others in the dust!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I'm getting old, part 31

Sometimes the passage of time just hits me right between the eyes. I've had three such moments this week, leaving me asking, "How can it possibly be 20 years since I was 17?"

The first moment was when my hubby pointed out that this month it's been 22 years since we met. Wow. Really?

The second was when I popped my tape (yes, a cassette tape) of the "La Bamba" soundtrack into the van's tape player. The boys' new Cars video game has one of the songs from that movie in it, and I felt like hearing it. Hubby asked what the tape was and I told him. "When did you get that?" he said. I checked the copyright. "Um, 1987?" Whoa. No way.

And the third was today. Our first day of co-op, and I was walking through the room when the Kid's Chorus class was rehearsing. They were singing a song called "Senses" which, it just so happens, is a song I sang as a solo during a church production of that exact same musical. I was 10, which makes it 27 years ago.

Seriously, when did so much time pass?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Okay, get cooking!

Head on over to Jana Cooks! Next week's shopping list will be up later, and then starting Sunday I will post the recipes that go with it. If you know anyone who's been wanting to eat healthier but didn't know where to start, send them over, too. The more the merrier!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I give it a 30 out of 30

Everyone knows what a huge Dancing with the Stars fan I am. Well, yesterday I got Fitness With the Pros, a workout video featuring Edyta Sliwinska and Alec Mazo, two of the professional dancers from the show. I absolutely hate exercising. I really do. But I've always wanted to learn to dance like the stars on the show do. And since I'm unlikely to be asked to compete on there any time soon, I thought this would be the next best thing.

I was not disappointed. I put that DVD in this morning and got an awesome workout, while at the same time learning some key steps from the waltz, cha-cha, jive and samba. Edyta is a wonderful teacher. I think Alec is just there as eye candy, but that's okay. There's even a slow-motion feature if you're having trouble with a step, which believe me, I needed. I'm not exactly the most coordinated person on the planet. I'm not even the most coordinated person in this house.

Now let's go to the judges. Um, on second thought, let's not. I think I need more than an hour of practice before I'm ready for that!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Food, glorious food

I've been toying with the idea of starting a food blog. Hey, stop that hysterical laughter. I cook. I cook almost every meal, as a matter of fact. Sometimes my kids even like it. Here are my reasons for thinking about this:
  • It will keep me on track with my own eating. I do better if I plan out every meal.
  • It will be a good place to keep my favorite recipes and menus.
  • It will be easy to send people there when they ask about my diet.
  • It might help someone else who wants to eat healthy find some inspiration.
I would probably post menus and shopping lists the week before, and then recipes on the day I cook them. Anyone following along would only need to eat what I eat to lose weight.

So what do you think? Should I put the effort in? Or is this another crackpot idea from the same brain that brought you this blog?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Fun with history

I've been thinking about doing a unit on American history. I say unit, but I'm thinking it will probably last the rest of the year. I mean, we've got over 200 years to cover! I realized how little US history we've done when we were at Epcot watching the American Adventure show (that's the one where Mark Twain and Ben Franklin animatronic robots tell the story of America - in very abbreviated form). The kids had no clue what most of the scenes were about. Who's Susan B. Anthony? What's a Depression? Why are those women welding? Absolutely clueless.

So we've got a lot of work to do. And I'm thinking about field trips when the weather gets warmer (today it's supposed to be 68, but that doesn't count). After all, we live only an hour from DC, three from Philadelphia, forty minutes from Gettysburg. A great deal of early American history took place within a four hour drive of us. I know when I studied British history in London, it sunk in a lot better when we went to the actual places where it happened. Maybe this summer we could even drive up into New England and see where the Revolution started, visit Plymouth, and all that good stuff.

I absolutely love this country. I am a patriot through and through. And I can't wait to share that passion with my kids.

Monday, January 07, 2008

If I had a daughter...

1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis
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The topic this month is "Three Things My Daughter Must Know About Her Marital Needs," which is quite a mouthful, especially considering I don't even have a daughter. But eMom has assured me I don't have to have a real daughter to participate.

My first piece of advice is to learn the art of logic. If you can explain your point of view clearly and logically, instead of emotionally, you'll find it's a lot easier to communicate with your husband. Now, my husband is an engineer, so this might be more true for him than for some men, but in general men don't make decisions based on emotion (unless it's buying a car). So once you've presented the logical side of your argument, you can lead into the emotional side, and he's a lot more likely to listen and understand.

The second thing I think I would tell my daughter is not to go into marriage with a stranger. Take the time to talk, a lot, before you get married. Know where your partner stands on all the important things in life: religious beliefs, politics, ethics and morality, certainly, but also such earth-shattering topics as which way the t.p. should roll and whether he prefers cats or dogs. Hubby and I went to college in two very separate states, and spent many hours talking on the phone, and while I don't recommend six years of separation to most people, I certainly knew exactly who I was marrying when I said "I do."

And finally, I would tell her to never let the honeymoon be over. Make a list of all the reasons you married him and read it weekly, if that helps. Hang out with him. Let him know you want to be with him. Hold hands when you're out in public. Show him you appreciate him. Don't talk bad about him to other people - it's none of their business. Stay a little bit starry-eyed where your husband's concerned. He'll notice and respond in kind.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Now that's cold

I've just done a cat scan of the weather. Smokey, who usually goes out and stays out all day, just asked to come back in, and it's not even 10 yet. Yes, friends, it's too cold for the cat to want to be outside, and he's got a fur coat!

If you want me, I'll be huddled by the coal stove.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A restless night

Did you know that the right combination of flannel pajamas and flannel sheets acts much like Velcro? Neither did I.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Adios 2007

I don't know about you, but I don't really feel the need to look back at the events of last year, just because a new year is upon us. I usually have to read my blog archives to remember what in the world I did, anyway. But I can tell you how I'm feeling today, and that is hopeful for the future. I feel like this is going to be a good year. Those last eight pounds are going to come off, I'm going to finish editing one or all of my novels and looking to publish, I'm going to finish my term on my homeschool co-op's committee and take the fall semester off to recover. My twenty-year high school reunion is in October, where I will make all the guys wonder why they never asked me out.

Yep, if only it weren't an election year, I'd be pretty gung-ho about 2008. Man, I hate politics. And when I say I hate it, I mean that I secretly love it, but I don't ever discuss it in public because I hate arguing about it. I don't blog about it because there are so many other people who do it better than I could. But rest assured that just because I am not discussing it does not mean that I am not thinking about it.

Happy 2008, everybody!