Sunday, December 31, 2006

2 days in the car

I am so glad to be home! We drove 1100 miles over 2 days, home from my folks. 14 hours one day and 7 the next. It took us 8 hours to get out of Florida. It took us 3 hours to cross the 100 miles of Georgia. Once we got off of I95 though things cleared out. We'd been in non-stop bumper to bumper traffic for 12 hours when we finally got on I26. Everyone was wound up. The boys did watch a number of DVDs but naturally they got bored & the usual "He's touching me" "He's bothering me" went on, plus a few hundered "are we there yet?"s. We stopped every couple of hours to let everyone get some air & exercise. Both of them napped a bit & so did DH. DH & I listened to Scandal Take a Holiday, which is fortunately 14 hours long. We all ate too much junk. I forgot the insulated pack of apples, bananas & juice at my mom's & none of the places we stopped had decent looking fruit (except the large bags of oranges, which we had no room for). Apart from juice & some apple dippers at McD's last night I don't think any of us ate anything remotely nutritious for 36 hours.

Being the obsessive tidier I have become, I had to unpack all 4 suitcases before I could eat my lunch/dinner. (We stopped for Chinese take out just before we got home at 3p). Then I had to find homes for the boys new toys. NOw DH is watching football, the boys are playing & I am going to go read

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Give us your best diet tips and ideas for healthy eating during the holidays

My favorite tip is "BE AWARE OF WHAT YOU ARE EATING". Pay attention while you eat. Don't mindlessly scarf down rum balls or those little appetizer quiches. Pick it up, look at it, and chew thoughtfully while noticing how it tastes. This means you can't really eat while carrying on a conversation, unless the conversation is about the food. Eating mindlessly while talking at gathering is the source of endless amounts of calories. It also slows down your eating and you will eat less because you give your body time to become satisfied.

Another one is "IF IT IS NOT WONDERFUL - DON'T EAT IT". Even if it was made by your sweet grandmother, even if you just paid a lot of money for it. If you don't think 'wow! I really like this' after the first couple of bites, don't finish it. You may have to eat a bit for politeness' sake (if your grandmother is involved) but you are not obligated to finish it. I hearby give you permission not to clean your plate if you don't love the food. :)

Eat "SMALLER PORTION SIZES" assuming you have control over your portions. Take half the amount you think you will eat. If you want more you can go get more after you are done with what you have

The last is "DON'T CLEAN YOUR PLATE", especially if you have no control over the portion size. Eat half, give it a few minutes to settle and ask yourself if your really want/need more. Then eat half the remaining portion & repeat.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

favorite Christmas memory

The boys were up early as usual. DH got up with them & kept them entertained for an hour or so while the rest of us slept. Unusually Grandma & Pa were up before I was. Around 7:30 DS2 apparently got tired of waiting for Mom to get up & came into the bedroom, walked over to me and said "Mommy you get up now! Presents! You get dressed!". The other thing that stands out in my mind was the sheer disappointment on DS1's face when the first present he opened was *not* the hot rod toy he had asked for. It was the only thing he had wanted & he was so sad that the package he opened was a Leapster. The next package was the hot rod & he was so happy he was totally uninterested in opening the rest of his gifts (though he did eventually).

Just as an aside, within 2 hours DS1 was happily playing with DS2's Cars vehicles and DS2 was busy playing with the hot rod. Ds1 did take the hot rod to bed with him though.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sunrise, sunset

Describe the most beautiful sunset or sunrise you've ever seen.

I'm so bad at descriptives... The first thing that comes to mind was a sunset I saw a couple weeks ago. We were in the car driving to or from someplace & it had been storming all day. Not just a gray sky, but a black sky all afternoon long. It had stopped raining & was starting to clear off, off in the west. The sun was setting & was this deep, rich, glowing orange color and it sort of faded into the dark grey and the black. Plus the mountains were there. So there was this dark but glowing band of orange both top & bottom and this richer red orange glowing band across the middle. Beautiful!

I was added to the rolls at today! I've been lurking off of blogs there for months & finally joined last night. If you are a female blogger you should check them out. They have some great blogs there. I went on a blog jumping frenzy last night and added about 40+ blogs to my Bloglines account. About half were food & the other half parenting. Then I switched my food blogfood blog over to the new blogger templates & fiddled around with it. Feeling successful with that I switched my old random thoughts blog over & found a 3 column template to try out with it and it worked on the 1st try! That almost makes me confident enough to switch this one over. But I am still reluctant.

I spent a few hours browsing a craft/flea market type thing today & now havea bunch of ideas for calendar templates...for 2008, but that's fine. It gives me 10 months to make them. I have a slew of outlook sticky notes with ideas on them. I need to get some word art together for 1hourscrap. I have some ideas about that too. we went to B&N as well & I bought some books. The great thing about being on vacation is I can read for extended periods. At least I could. my brother & his family arrive tonight so I suppose my reading time (and computer time) will be cut down soon.

I'm getting back in the groove online. I've gotten caught up at DSP. I'm not really in a position to do any scrapping here but I should be able to get back to the challenges once we get home. I've missed scrapping regularly & it will be good to get back into it. I had to get the reading jones out of my system & that has pretty much been accomplished I think. It looks like Carrie (woogiebop) is taking over DigiScrapDiva and some of the folks from Scrapmommies will be helping her run the site, so I am looking forward to the challenges and energy they are sure to bring there.

Monday, December 25, 2006

What sets you apart from the crowd?

Depends on the crowd. I hang out with different groups of people & what is common to one group is very unusual to others.

The fact that I am a pagan is the big one. My religion is growing but is not at all mainstream. Many people still have a great deal of misconceptions about it, so I don't always mention it. My MOPS group is of course, Christian based, Baptist in fact, though they are very good about making everyone feel welcome even if you are Catholic or (as they think of me) you don't attend church. I've never stood up and told them I was a witch. I don't know all of them well. Some people I think would have no problem. I know one woman's husband is a Wiccan. But there are people in the group that are already offended by Santa & jack o lanterns being on decorations. I can only imagine their reaction to an initiated witch in their midst, so I tend to keep quiet to avoid conflict. There are not many pagan digi scrappers either, though I do know several.

Among the wider pagan world, the fact that I am so 'mainstream' sets me apart. I hang out with the Christian moms, I digi scrap. I am not a radical lesbian vegan liberal who chains herself to trees on the weekends while wearing all black and a hal a dozen giant pentacles. :) Of course among my RL coven I am considered quite normal - but then we are a coven of 40ish, mostly ex-military, rural, conservative, almost Republican witches. If we were Christians we'd fit right in with our Baptist neighbors. :)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

we're here!

After 19 hours, spread over 2 days we have arrived at grandma's house. 1063 miles. Forget over the river and through the woods. We went over the interstate and through the traffic.

DH was able to leave work early Thurs so we left home at 4:30pm. 40 minutes later we were stuck in rush hour traffic. It took us about a hour to go 10 miles. It took us almost 3 hours to travel 100 miles. So we did not get as far as we had hoped that night. We'd hoped to get south of Columbia, SC so we would miss their morning rush hour, but we ended up stopping just north of it at 11:30pm. We'd travelled 350 miles in 7 hours. The boys were asleep in the back seat, woke up briefly to be moved to the room and then dropped back off. I didn't sleep much. I can't take the Lunesta if I can't get 7-8 hours & at best I would maybe get 6.5. I think I slept from about 3am to 6:30am. We were in WaffleHouse by 7:15 and on the road at 8am. we encountered no traffic. The traffic 45 miles from home would be the only standing still traffic we would encounter. However there were A LOT of cars on the road. Packs of them. And there was rain. DH drove through a patch in SC that lasted about 15 minutes & was heavy at times. I hit a long off and on spell between Jacksonville & Tampa that would come and go and be so heavy at times that I was about to pull over. We arrived at my folks place at 8:15p. Boys were in bed around 9:30 and I was stumbling to bed around 10:45 under the effects of a Lunesta. DH fell asleep about 10 minutes later.

books listened too - Kitchen Confidential, Peril at End House
movies watched - Cars, Robots, El Dorado, Knights of Fix Alot, Ice Age 2, Shrek 2
times "Are we there yet" was asked - about 4000
fast food meals eaten - blessedly, only 2 - Arby's Thurs night & Burger King for lunch on Friday. We skipped dinner Friday and just kept driving, eating the apples, bananas and pretzels I brought with us.
items left behind in our rush to leave - books for bedtime stories, razors, facial scrub

So far today the males have gone swimming, I had Quiznos, DH & DS2 took a 3 hour nap, DS1, Grandpa & I went for ice cream, remaining gifts were wrapped, a load of laundry has been washed and Grandpa went and bought a wireless internet router for his cable modem after DH & I discovered they didn't have one (and that we couldn't get online with our laptops) & told him how great the were. Now the 4 adults can use their 4 laptops to surf the web all at once from anywhere in the house. I'm wondering if my brother or his wife will be arriving with one (or 2)? Maybe I can get them all to download YIM or Hello and we can all Im one another from across the living room. :)

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukka and Blessed Yule to everyone!

Friday, December 22, 2006

kids?!? are you kidding me?

I enjoy ______ now, but if anyone had told me that years ago, I would never have believed them.

Children. Seriously. I really did not like kids for most of my life. I was militantly childfree in my 20's. Didn't want them around me, certainly didn't want them in my life. I was absolutely positive children ruin your life & I was happy with my life as it was. Have children of my own? Oh hell no! But slowly, in my early 30s my opinion changed. Many things contributed to it but what stands out most was that as the last of my friends married I realized that, for me, without children there is nothing to mark the changing time, no firsts to look forward to, except divorce & death. How cheery. And while I as happy with my life, it had been going on the same way for a few years now & would likely go on the same way unchanging & that seemed a bit of an empty prospect. The kids did 'ruin' my life. That life is gone & won't be coming back and I do miss parts of it - the spare time, the spare money. And some days parenting is every bit as difficult and the kids every bit as horrible as I imagined they could be. But I love my new life and there are far more good times than bad ones.

blog prompts come from a digital scrapbook site

Monday, December 18, 2006

Bummer for me

The monitor is shot. My nice 20" flat screen monitor, only a year old, is all wonky. The display is all green & shimmery. An its been getting a bit fuzzy as well unless I have it set to 1600x1200 which is way too small. I don't recall if we paid for the extended warranty. 50/50 shot whether we did or not. Depends on the mood of whoever ordered it at the time & I cannot recall which of us did. I am less likely to remember to get it but DH is cheaper so depending on cost he might not have paid for it. i have View Sonics 800# so I am going to call them & find out. I have a laptop so I don't *need* the monitor, but i love the monitor. I want my monitor!

The thing is working out well for me. I've had 4 books so far and would have gotten a 5th but I stupidly forgot to remove the mailer insert when I sent book 3 back in and mailed the book to myself. So it's going out now. There is a chance bok 5 might arrive before we leave but I doubt it. That means I will probably average 5-6 books a month & I think $25 a month is a good deal for that.

Bought ink so I am finally printing out the calendar & DH can get it bound tomorrow. Also got niece2's gift, a few more Cars, the movie Ice Age 2 (as a surprise video for day 2 in the car) and one of DHs Xmas gifts. I looked at flat screen monitors & a 17" is $200 at WM. I tried to find new sippy cups for the boys & all WM had was Disney Princess ones. I'm not really sexist but I just balk at the idea of the boys carrying around glitter pink sippy cups with princesses & flowers all over them. I just can't go there. So I'll have to check out Safeway & FoodLion this week. We need a few new ones for the trip, most of ours are old & no longer screw on properly from numerous dishwasher trips..

Tonight is MOPS potluck. Tuesday is DS1's birthday party for Jesus & book exchange at school (and let me just say that the injunction against books with TV cartoon characters, Harry Potter, magical stuff or Santa really makes finding a book a challenge. Especially the no cartoon character part. I understand it. I really do. I don't want Sponge Bob in my house so I appreciate a blanket DO NOT instruction but damn that narrows things down for 3 year olds) Wednesday is DS1s Christmas caroling thing. Thursday the cats go to the kennel & I pack everything. Friday we leave. And I intend to get to the gym at least 2x if not 3 this week. Oh yeah, and a I have to wrap some gifts tonight for tomorrow. and make my pot luck item. I guess I should get off of here.

gifts done!

DS1 - Leapster, Cars hot rod, I Spy book
stocking - 3 Cars die cast, Backyardigans Leapster game & travel coloring book
DS2 - Take Along Roundhouse, I Spy Shapes book, Floor puzzle
stocking - 2 Cars die cast, Gordon & Percy & travel coloring book
Family - Backyardigans Memory game and Chutes & Ladders

Niece 1 - My Little Pony Memory game
Niece 2 - Pop up Elmo book

Friends older kids - I Spy books
Friends toddlers - fat plastic trucks & cars

Adults - alcohol, chocolate & tea gift bag

Mom - calendar
Dad - bookmarks

Sunday, December 17, 2006

one thing & another

My flat screen monitor is acting up. I'm praying it is a cable problem. Jiggling the cable seems to help. I am so screwed if it is the monitor. I have gotten used to dual monitors and I *love* my flat screen. I almost didn't get a laptop because I didn't want to give it up. I'm getting a replacement cable at wal mart tomorrow. There ought to be a half a dozen monitor cables in this house. There used to be but I can't find a single one now.

I will also be buying ink at the wal mart. I ran out on page 11 of the 12 page calendar I am making for my mom. And I haven't printed the bookmarks for my dad or the triptick for our trip. I have to get it all printed tomorrow so DH can get it bound before we leave. I'd've had all this done by now but when I was making the bookmarks for my dad I decided since I was going to all the trouble I might as well make them for sale, so I had make a couple variations & then made templates as well & between that & putting together mom's calendar it was Friday night before I started printing. i will *not* set foot in walmart on weekends in December so it'll be tomorrow before I can finish.

The bookmarks are available at if you still need a fast, easy and very useful gift for people.

I have no shorts that fit DS1 & we are going to FL in 5 days. DS2 needs a bathing suit. I suppose we'll have to get them down there. I cleaned the car out, vacuumed, washed the car seat covers, everything. I like to start a trip with a clean car. I'm going to have one suitcase that just has presents in it. One suitcase for our overnight stop. 2 large suitcases with our clothes, 2 laptop cases, each boy gets a small backpack, the DVD case and my pillow. Will all this fit in the back of the car & still leave room to see out the window?

I have potluck on Monday, DS1s Christmas pageant Wednesday, drop the cats off for boarding (an hour away) on thursday & still need to buy one of DHs presents and something for my youngest niece.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

travel mugs

I was having a conversation with some friends a week or so ago about travel mugs. Several of us are looking for the 'perfect' one, though our criteria are a bit different. I believe we all agree it should be a stainless steel one with the vacuum walls. It should have a screw top lid, not a press & seal. The 'spillproof' mechanism should be able to opened using just one hand and have a decent sized opening. Everyone else wants it to fit in a cup holder, I'm a bit flexible on that. If he bottom is wide enough it will wedge between my seat and the parking brake (like my favorite mug does). There is some disagreement on just how many ounces it should be. I like a big mug, a VAT of coffee as it were.

I have a favorite mug. I've had it for 8 years. Its a big wide bottomed Thermos stainless steel mug. It has a screw top, it is 20ozs (I have a matching, thermos, as well, so 36ozs all together). It had a one handed opener but I lost that bit a month after I bought it & found it I just stuffed a paper towel into the lid it sufficed for a car trip. (I now use Press & Seal over that when I take the mug to MOPS meetings). I lost the lid to this mug a few weeks ago. I searched the whole house for it. It was in the sink. DH said he put it in the dishwasher, but then it was just *gone*. So i had to get a new mug. My new mug arrived Tuesday. It is a Thermos E5 16oz travel mug. Nice mug. Not perfect though. It's just a tad too big to fit in the cup holder, but too small to wedge in the space between the seat & the parking brake. It also needs both hands to open the spillproof part. It is a good 'passenger' mug, but not a good 'driver' mug. I ordered it online so I had to go by description & photos. It will get used though. The fact that is truly is spillproof means I can take it to MOPS meeting & other places i go where there is little to no coffee available. But as a just to drive DS1 to school, its not so good.

It often happens that shortly after you buy a replacement for something that is lost, the thing that is lost then turns up. About an hour ago DS1 brought me his toy grill. The lid had gotten wedged shut. So I opened it. Inside the grill was the lid to my favorite mug! 30 hours after my replacement mug arrived & 2 hours after the packaging had leftover soup poured on it in the garbage can ensuring the new one cannot be returned.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

where did he get this?

The younger of the little demons, er, angels, loves spicy food. Where did that come from. DH & I are not spicy food eaters. I like flavorful stuff but heat turns me off. I am a bland eater. I'm not fond of mexican due to the peppers & I like mild forms of Indian & Thai food. I love the flavors in Japanese food & non-hot Chinese food. I like unusual spices but not heat. DH like thigs a bit hoter than me but even then he is an American Hot sort of eater (as opposed to Mexican Hot or Thai Hot, the grades that appear in several of our local ethnic restuarants). DS2 however likes it HOT. He likes spicy curry. He'll eat Wasabi ranch dip with a fork. He loves spicy taco meat. I am a bland cook & I have joked that I need to just start shaking Tabasco sauce on his food to get him to eat it. Turns out it really isn't a joke. I bought chicken taquitos because the store was out of the usual beef & cheese ones. The chicken ones are bland, even to me (and that is sayin something). DS2 loves taquitos but he doesn't like the chicken ones because thy are bland. The beef ones don't really qualify as spicy but they do at least have a nice flavor. He's only 2 and a half & doens't understand that we don't have the taquitos he wants. He sees the box and wants taquitos. Explaining they are the chicken ones he won't eat makes no difference. All he knows is that I am denying him the taquitos of his dreams. So today I went through my spice rack, looking for something to dress up the taquitos. I'd though I had some red pepper (though why I though I would have that is a mystery). What I found was curry powder (and why I have that is a bigger mystery). I made the taquitos and then sprinkled a bit of curry powder on them. They smelled good. DS2 ate them up with speed and requested more. I made another batch, including some for myself. They were delicious. DS1 was not as approving, but he is a bland eater too. He did eat them eventually.

My quest for this evening is to go through my recipie cards and find the reason I bought the curry powder so I can make it for dinner tomorrow. I'm assuming it was a Rachel Ray meal, the only other cookbook I have been using in the past few months is Giada DiLorentis & curry doens't feature much in Italian food.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Menu for the next 2 weeks

I only need 8 meals this time. We had pasta for dinner tonight, we go out to eat Saturdays and Sunday we will be celebrating Yule (early) with my coven & having dinner there. Somehow the 4 meals I chose from the card catalog all ended up being Rachel Ray 's, (one for each book I own). The other 4 are standards of mine.

Crock pot chicken & stuffing
Chicken crescent pockets or calzone (leftovers)
Loaded baked potato soup & spinach salad
Rosemary & ham scones & more spinach salad
Turkey cutlets with ravioli - NEW!
Fake tandori chicken
Mini meat patties

and if one of them doesn't appeal one night I have tilapia filets in the freezer ready to marinated in lemon & garlic and the broiled.

Next time I do a 2 week menu I have to come up with side dishes that are more than 'nuke some frozen peas' at least some of the time. Most of Rachel Ray's meals include side dishes. I just never make them because...well...I don't think I will like them. But the time has come to try them. So I am suspecting lots of Rachel Ray dinners in my future.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

the 8x8 glass pan

DH came to me this evening and said "Where is the square baking pan? Is the 13x9 the smallest we have?" This is an odd question for him to ask me. He does most of the baking and nearly all of the dishwashing & putting away. Therefor he should have far more knowledge of our baking pans & their locations than I should. But *women know where things are* and I was able to say "We have a square glass one. It should be in the island cupboard, or inthe stove drawer, or under the sink. Or it might possibly be in the pantry" I keep the glass & silicon bakeware in island cupboard, the flat baking sheets in the stove drawer and the metal bakeware under the sink. Ceramic bowls go in the pantry. But I've never actually fully explained this system to DH, so he tends to leave clean bake pans on the counter for me to put away. I hadn't realized the connection until he asked me about the square pan. I would just get mildly irritated that he hadn't put the pan away, put it away myself & that would be that. This may be the reason why *women know where things are* and men don't - we simply forgot to tell them.

Anyway, a quick search through the aforementioned locations failed to turn up the square baking pan. My kitchen space-wise is average, storagewise is it tiny. There are really only 5 places a baking pan could be and one of those is the dishwasher. The other 4 I have already mentioned. It wasn't in any of them. It also was not in the cupboard with the glasses or the one with cereal, soup and other frequently used dry goods, nor was it hiding under the numerous mostly empty bag of stale tortilla chips. It was not in the refridgerator with something already in it. This meant it must not be in the house, though I had no recollection of taking it anywhere. The last time I used it, I think I baked tilapa in it. Not something you normally take to a pot luck.

We gave up & DH decided to make brownies in a round cake pan rather than make really really skinny ones in the 13x9 pan. He goes to rinse out the round pan in the sink and there, under the pile or small plastic bowls that accumulates in after a day with toddlers, was the square glass 8x8 pan. He washes it out, picks up the box of brownies and reads "Do not bake in square glass 8x8 pan."

Saturday, December 09, 2006

random thoughts

I posted recently, on my food blogthat my food goal for 2007 is to get a better handle on side dishes. While perusing my recipe card collection (which oddly has a very large section for 'veggies') I realized that most of my recipes I don't make that often. I've made nearly all of them once but rarely twice. And there are a bunch from this past year's cookbook purchases that have never been made at all. I've intended to make them, put them on menu, but then never got around to making them. For the past 2 months especially, the majority or my meals have been basic and for the most part recipe-less. Meatloaf, pasta, chicken with couscous, chicken in a crock pot, pot roast, london broil, broiled fish, pizza and things stuffed in crescent roll dough. Various pastas, various fish, various types of pizza and various things stuffed into crescent roll dough, to keep it from being too monotonous. But basically the same 9 dishes show up every 2 weeks. Occasionally I'll make something or other that found like Cooks Illustrated Coq au Vin but the last time I did that was in September. I've intended for a month now to make Turkey Tettrazini but haven't.

Part of the problem is at least 3 out of the 5 nights I cook, I am basically cooking for toddlers. Turkey Tettrazini has zero toddler appeal. Tyson's breaded chicken patties have toddler appeal. DH is supposed to come home by 6:30 but something tends to happen fairly often to screw that up & I cannot put off feeding the kids beyond that. They go to bed at 8. I find it frustrating to hear at 5:30pm that he won't be home until 7pm & if I have been having a stressful day with bickering boys, the news that I will be alone with demons for dinner often means toaster waffles with peanut butter rather than braciole. Cooking for myself just isn't that much fun. Cooking for the boys can be fun, if I am in the mood for pizza or pasta, but I'd like adult food, with adult people every now and again.

So another part of my cooking resolution for 2007 is to make a new meal for dinner twice a month, every other Sunday. On alternate Sundays I will make again a recipe I have made before, like Coq au Vin. Or at least I will try. Realistically at least one Sunday a month this won't happen. Random food will be eaten. That's fine. What I need is a plan. It's ok to deviate from the plan, but you have to have the plan first.

In other news...Xmas is coming (and on a side note I often wonder if 'xmas' offends people. I seem to be the only person on the internet that uses it. i was taught in Catholic school religion class that xmas was a perfectly acceptable abbreviation, along with xtian - and this was decades before IMing became popular, but maybe times have changed.) I need to make presents for my folks. Once again I am making a calendar for my mom. I've picked out the layouts I want to use & just need to add the month names to them. I already have the calendar templates (and you can have them too, they are for sale at I need to make some bookmarks for Dad & am not sure where to start. I used some premade templates last year that had calendars on them. I'm not sure if he really needs the calendars. I need to pick out photos for them. One of each grandchild. I can't remember if I laminated them or not last year. All xmas present have been bought for the boys, including the last minute "Hot Rod" that DS1 asked Santa for. Fortunately he mentioned it was at Safeway which helped me figure out what he was talking about. I still need something for my 14 month old niece that is not a doll or stuffed animal, does not make unnecessary noise and is under $12. Finding something that meets all three criteria is proving impossible. I may have to surrender on some point - not the noise though. I'm pretty adamant about the no unneeded noise thing. I don't want it for my kids & I won't buy it for others' unless specifically directed to do so. I've never understood the whole singing dancing Elmo thing. I just look at it and wonder "Who would want that in their house?" Maybe if your kid specifically asked for it & really really wanted it, but just to buy it, with out being asked to,... why? But I admit I am not an Elmo fan and am thankful to the Divine that the boys have never shown any interest in it. I did buy a Wiggles Murray's Guitar last year, but only because DS1 specifically asked for it. I would never have volunteered it to him.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Do you have a favorite ornament or decoration that you display at this time of year? Tell us its story!

I have a collection of wooden ornaments my mother made. She got a kit one year from a craft store that had about 50 ornaments in it. You pushed them out of their sheets, sanded them, painted them (they came with black outlines) back & front then gave them a shiny overcoat. I was about 8 when she made them. I remember watching her do them at a cardboard table in our rec room. I think she spent the better part of a month working on them in the evenings. My brother & I were not allowed to touch them. That was the year we got the fake all white tree. Mom put up red lights, red balls and the wooden ornaments (nearly all of which have some red on them) It was a really nice looking tree. When they finally moved out of my childhood home in the late 90's they gave me those ornaments, (plus some made by both my grandmothers). We've never had a big tree in the years since then. They have all be under 3' and most of the wooden ornaments are a too large for that. There are some small ones though & we put those on our trees every year. Next year maybe, or the year after we will get a big tree and I will get to use all the ornaments, only 10 years after they were given to me.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What are your cooking skills? How have they improved/changed??

I'm a pretty good cook & for the most part I enjoy it. It can be frustrating from time to time due to my diners. Little boys are not in general the most appreciative of audiences unless I am heating up Tyson chicken patties.

I've always enjoyed cooking and been fairly good at it when I wanted to be. What I have been working on the since the boys were born was planning. Before them I would call DH at 10am and say "What do you want for dinner?" and search up recipes on the web & buy the stuff I needed on the way home from work. And if I didn't feel like cooking it was no big deal because the other person in my house was a grown adult who could find himself something to eat on his own (and was a short order cook in college). Now I have other people to feed & dinner by Tyson every night is just not my style. I end up feeling bad for eating all the processed foods. Don't get me wrong, I *like* processed foods, especially breakfast cereal, but apart from that I think it should be kept to a minimum. But lack of sleep & 2 babies pushed me into lots of boxes of meals for a couple years & I lost interest in food really. I have been slowly getting back to where I was, which makes me feel more like me again. But I have had to get a handle on planning. I make long range goals. My goal in 2004 was just to make 4 meals a week. From scratch mostly, no Hamburger Helper (HH was for the other 3 nights). I also got my recipe collection organized & went through my several dozen cookbooks and did up cards on any recipe I found interesting. For 2005 it was 5 meals a week with one new or rarely made recipe a week. Plus start keeping a log of how they turned out and changes I made. This year it was planning for 2 weeks of dinners, using the leftovers from a couple of meals creatively in other meals in the period. And baking at least a couple loaves of bread a month. My 2007 goals are to get a handle on side dishes (right now I just nuke whatever frozen veggie I have on hand or make a spinach salad. I don't like veggies but I can't let the boys know that so I need to make interesting veggie dishes to interest all of us) and to prep ahead, like when I make crock pot beef stew - prep 2 or 3 times as many veggies and freeze them so next time all I have to do is open a bag. And since my bread machine finally died on me yesterday while kneading a loaf of Pepperoni Pecarino Bread, I am going to trying making bread without it for at least 4 months. I *can* make bread without it but it is just so much easier with it - no keep tracking of how long things have been rising, punching to down, movig it around. It requires so much attention. A bread machine though - toss everything in and walk away. Leave the house! 3 hours later you have bread.

Apart from bread I don't bake. Baking requires an attention to detail I don't have. DH bakes. He has spent the past year perfecting his chocolate chip cookies. Now he is branching out into mousse! :)

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Earlier in the week, we talked about favorite cartoons. Now I want to know your favorite board game, video game, or card game. And who do you usually play with?

I loved to play games when I was kid. All the board games. My favorite was (nad still is) Clue. Ieven had a couple PC versions of it. As an adult, in my childfree years, I played a great deal of card games and dice games (and drinking games). I love Hearts & Spades but I always have to be reminded of the rules because I get them confused. My favorite dice game is called 10,000, which is how many points you have to get to win. We'd play it for *hours* in college & right after, drinking & talking. I have a lot of great memories of that game. Now I play bunco monthly with other moms from my MOPS group & I really enjoy it. I love Trivial Pursuit as well. I have th Star Wars version but no one will play with me because I kick their butts every time :) My favorite PC game is Civilization. I actually bought the game a week before I got my first PC. It ate up HOURS of my life & I enjoyed every minute. I haven't played it since DS1 was about 6 months old. You have to be able to devote 3-4 hours to it at least (if not an entire weekend) and I have not had that kind of time in over 3 years. They have version 4 out now. I just barely played a couple times with 3 before I had to call it quits. Maybe someday... The other game I loved was D&D. Role playing is such fun. Its something else I have not been able to do in years because it also requires too much time.

I am looking forward to the boys getting old enough to play more challenging games than Candy land. I really want to play games with them.


My laptop has an 80GB HD. I also have a 110GB EHD, that is actually the converted HD from my old PC. It's bulky and requires AC power. Both HDs are about 2/3 full. I want a 120GB or more EHD that runs off the USB. One of those 2.5" slimline things. Found one for $89! But the fact is - we don't have $89 to replace a perfectly good HD just for convenience sake. So to solace myself I decided the time had come to clean up the HDs & clear off stuff.

First I tackled the music & audiobooks. I don't know what happened when I moved stuff on the laptop from the PC but I have multiple copies of music & books all over the HD, sometimes in .wav and .mp3. The music was easy to clear up but the audiobooks required a spreadsheet to track them. I have the same book in .aau and .mp3 and .wav and on CD, or combinations of them. I have 67 audiobooks (I've had an Audible subscrition for over 3 years - 2 books a month for $20, plus stuff from the library and with more to come. So I cleared them all down to just one copy in a single format. I burned the Audible books I have already listened too to DVD and a bunch of the others as well. When I was done I had cleared almost 10GB of space.

Then I went through my photos and made sure they were all on DVD and backed up on another one & then I deleted all but the last 3 months and my 'to be scrapped' folder - another couple GBs gained.

Then I tackled my digi stuff. I'm still plowing my way through that. I went through it back in April when I copied stuff to the laptop & just didn't copy a large chunk of stuff. Burned that to DVD and honestly, have never looked at it since. Most of it was freebies from my early scrapping days. So this time I went through my stuff and any folder that has not been accessed since May is automatically in the burn folder. I'm now sorting through the stuff that hasn't been accessed since June-August & deciding what to keep & what to burn. I've gotten a lot more choosy about what I buy & the freebies I download so hopefully I won't have this problem any more. Once this is done I may get ASeeDSee (or however it is spelled) and actually tag things for sorting. But I am not about to tackle it with all this crap. I think it can tag DVDs too so I can remember what is on them, on the off chance I suddenly need a star tipped paper clip in fuschia. :) I also had enough .pspimage files of layouts to fill a DVD. I'm probably going to clear another 6-8Gbs

I also need to put together the 2007 calendar for my mom's xmas present. I made a set of 8.5x11 templates & the calendar pages for 1hourscrap & had thought I was going to use it myself but after talking with my mom, she really liked the one I did last year. Last year, pressed for time I resized layouts I done through the year to 8x8 and then put the month name on the side in matching paper. She really liked that, so I am going to do it again. Now watch...I will have deleted the papers to some of the layouts I am using.

I did find time to get one layout done tis week. I applied for Sherri Tierney's CT a few weeks ago and was chosen to join it! This is my first layout with one of her products. The kit is Thinking of You and is available at One of a Kind Scrapz.

I also have put some new products up at A couple quick page sets & some date stamps.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

be careful what you wish for

I am so screwed.

You know how I hate my sofa adn would like nothing more than to have to buy a new one? You know how I just spent nearly as much on a laptop as I would on a new sofa? You see where this is heading?

One of our cats has PEED on the sofa. And not just on a cushion than can be taken to the laundromat, but in the corner, so it is on the nailed into the frame upholstry. That can't be washed and no amount of Febreeze is going to eradicate the smell. The cat will do it again. The cats are 13 years old & have been peeing on all sorts of things since the boys were born..mostly the boys toys, but also in the bathrooms. Cats are not disposeable to me so I can't just dump them at the shelter and I can't see placing an ad that reads "wanted good home for cat that pees on everything." So I don't know what to do. Odds are they will pee on a new sofa too. If we were in a position to buy a new sofa, which we aren't because we just bought the laptop. I'mnot returning the laptop. I need it far more than I need a sofa.

So as an experiment & to buy some time, I am taking the cushion and the sofa cover to the laundromat for an industrial strength washing tomorrow. Tonight I am going to soak that corner of the sofa in Febreeze and vinegar. Tomorrow I will also go to the furniture store & price sofas. (I told brad we shouldn't have given away our old IKEA sofa last month) The cats have just become outdoor cats as opposed to the indoor/outdoor cats they were. well, they will be out when we are out. Unless they do it again & then they are out for good.

Maybe people will just have to sit on a pile of pillow until Xmas, when we will have saved enough to buy a new sofa.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

5 accomplishements of the past week

1. went to the gym 3 times & did all my cardio each time
2. won the big prize at Bunco and then one the dollar game afterwards, almost $50!
3. finally made the dinner reservations for Thanksgiving
4. steam cleaned the living room carpet (would not have needed to do if I had been paying more attention to my 2 year old, he poured peanut butter all over them while I was catching up on a message board)
5. finished all my reading - all 19 Eddings books, plus 4 by Quinn Fawcett and another 4 by Robert Lee Hall. I am now ready to go back to scrapping.:)

Have we ever talked about favorite movies? Or movies that make you wish you had those two hours of your life back?

It's hard to pick just one in either category. I am a big fan of really bad sci-fi, cheesy B-movie sci-fi. And that very often leaves me open to watching some really truly BAD sci-fi. The most recent really bad movie that comes to my mind was a SciFi movie original - Alien Apocalypse, starring Bruce Campbell and Renee O'Connor (from Xena) OMG! It was terrible in an indescribable way, especially since with it starring Bruce Campbell you were expecting so much more in the way of good camp. That is the problem with camp, it is either very good or it sucks.

The movie I love to put on when I need to relax, the one I never get tired of watching is Clue. It has a stellar cast, a great plot and wonderful, wonderful dialogue. I can quote the whole thing from memory.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

what I have been doing

I think I have 4 layouts in the past month. and 2 of those were actually ATCs. I've hardly posted on DSP or here. So what have I been doing? I've been reading. I bought David Eddings latest book "The Younger Gods" about a month ago. It's the last in his latest series & the previous one had been published 2 years ago. I love David Eddings. He is my favorite fantasy writer. His stories are the basic "young hero on a quest" but so much more. His Belgariad series is incredible. A great story, well written, strong plot, great characters. I cannot wait until the boys are old enough to have it read to them. It's follow up series - the Mallorean - is also really well done, same characters mostly, but the new ones are also well drawn. The plot is strong with good dialog. Both are 5 books long. He also has 3 stand alone books associated with these series that focus on 2 of the characters and the writing of it all. His next series was the Elenium. I really enjoyed it, good plot, interesting people, witty dialog. The main criticism that I've heard about it is the strong similarity in characters between it & the Belgariad/Mallorean. I don't mind that. Almost all authors are dealing with certain archetypes in fantasy stories and for the most part drawing from basic ancient to early medieval world cultures. So you are going to have the thief, the warrior, the teacher, the Vikings, the Romans, etc. You try and write 3 different stories stretching over 13 books and not have some repetition. It happens. The 4th series is the Tamuli and it is a continuation of the Elenium but, as with the Mallorean, is in another part of the world, with some new characters. Also, a really good series is also the start of a dependence on certain writing styles and characters that really irritate me. He is great with witty dialog, it is one of the things I love about his writing. But as the Tamuli progressed it started seeming a bit forced. And there is this character Flute, who is a "just-too-cute-for-words-everyone-loves-me-kissy-kissy" little girl that by the end of the series I just wanted to grab with both hand and give a good hard shake. God she is irritating once she starts talking. Well, both her type of charater and the forced witty dialog were carried over into his most recent series the Dreamers. Book one started out with promise, though its copying of old characters was a bit much even for me - the 'sailor' had a ship that was an exact duplicate of the one the 'sailor' in the Belgariad had, right down to the name. And the new Flute character was even more annoying, which must have taken special effort. But it had a strong plot, interesting setting and some new character types. It had some real promise, but the ending was let down. The second book had the same problem, started strong, ended badly. By the time the third book ended you were left wondering what the point of the whole story was if all it really took to win the 'big battle' (every time) was for the same person to twitch her nose. Why bother to drag all these people into it? Why bother to tell the story at all? And he seemed to start several promising plot lines only to drop them abruptly for no apparent reason. He could have done alot with the Amazons but after building up the idea he just cuts it out. The fourth book sucked. And I don't say that lightly, especially about an author I love. but the book sucked. The plot was a tedious repetition of the one that happened in each of the first 3 books. The dialog was pathetic. "I thought you might have noticed that." "I thought I noticed you noticing me noticing that." Pathetic really. And the ending! OMG! Don't get me started on it! It was all basically a dream! It never really happened! OMFG! Are you freaking kidding me with that ending? All I can figure is his publish was getting on his case "David it's been 2 years, finish the damn thing already."

So the point of all this reviewing is what I have been doing. I read the 4th book. It has so many characters in it and had been so long since I had read the 3rd that I was confused until about a quarter of the way into it, trying to remember just who was who. I finished the book & was very disappointed. So I decided to reread the whole series, thinking my initial confusion might have caused some of the disappointment. Read all 4 books and was seriously disappointed. Seriously. I decided to reread all his books to remind myself why I loved his books. So in the past month I have read 15 thick hardback books, am current reading number 16, with 7 more to go.

I haven't read much in the past few months, been too busy scrapping, so I am probably due for this extended reading time.

Friday, November 03, 2006

what the hell is going on!?!?!

WHY WHY WHY WHY does something always happen every single freaking month in $500 of unexpected expenses? What the hell is with that? Sunday the drivers side door window on my car was shattered by a rock thrown by the weed whacker. It was repaired Wed for $200. I just walked into my living room and discovered that one whole side of our sliding glass door is totally shattered (still holding together but the whole pane is a maze of cracks). It's double paned so we won't be totally exposed to the elements tonight. $300 for a new sliding glass door. And it is only the 3rd of the month!!!! What's next?

I'm assuming DS2 threw a rock at it while I was inside cleaning up his brother on the potty. But DS2 is only 2.5 years old. How hard could he have thrown that rock? he must have gotten lucky & hit it dead on. Can't imagine how else it happened. I heard some shots in the distance but a bullet would have gone through both panes of the window.

Good freaking god! When will it end?

What qualities are you drawn to when meeting someone for the first time?

A sense of humor & a certain casualness & ability to laugh at yourseslf. I don't get along well with serious people, or earnest people or people who are uptight all the time and people who are really "devoted" (being devoted to something is ok, but I'm thinking of the sort of person who turns everything, even returning a sweater that is too big, into a crusade against injustice.)

I am a rather silly person & too much seriousness bothers me. Making a joke, especially of something you just did or said wins me over right away. I'm drawn to people who are easy going but not totally slack - people who understand that we need to be someplace at 4pm but can have fun getting there.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In honor of Halloween, write about a time you were scared.

I have become much easier to scare since I had kids. My subconscious seems to enjoy scaring the crap out of me from time to time, usually as I am trying to fall asleep (which is why I take Lunesta). It dredges up things I read or watched decades ago and waves them around until I am too scared to sleep. I can calm myself down but then it starts back up. The last time I wigged myself out really well was the last time DH went camping & I was alone with the boys. Our garbage can corral is near the window of our bedroom and wind makes the cans bump into one another and occasionally varmints get in them & are noisy as well. I know this. Rationally I am perfectly certain what I am hearing is rattled garbage cans and eventually I can talk myself into that but before I get there my subconscious gets convinced that what is actually out there is a couple of guys with knives or something wanting to kill us. So for awhile I sit there scared to death, plotting how to get back to the boys room, barricade it and get us all out of the house & which of my distant neighbors I might reasonably try to run to while carrying 2 small boys and chased by a couple homicidal maniacs. It never occurs to me to just call 911 in these situations. So I laid there for awhile, listening in fear, waiting to hear something, scared to death. I wanted to turn the porch light on but there is no switch for it our room (9 years I have been asking DH to fix that but so far, nothing). So in order to turn on the porch light & actually see what is out there I have to go into the kitchen, past the French doors, where anyone out there can see me, and then flip the switch. This is where sanity comes back. I sleep in the nude. I am 39, carrying around about 20lbs excess weight and a all over shall we say. I also have a gun safe in my room. So I am thinking that whoever is outside lurking with murder on his mind might just reconsider when confronted by a naked, shotgun wielding, crazy woman shouting that she knows damn well she is legally allowed to shoot his ass for being on her property. The thought of which sends me into a fit of giggles. I then get up and walk naked (and unarmed) through the kitchen and turn on the porch light. Back in my room I look through the window and see a varmint of some sort rooting around in the garbage. So I open the window and shout at it & it lumbers off. but I can't really get back to sleep because I keep remembering all the Unsolved Mysteries episodes I have seen with families in isolated homes being murdered in their beds by unknown people.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

favorite day of the week

I think it would be Thursdays because I have finally managed to get the hang of Thursdays (and will do just about anything to toss a Douglas Adams referance into my posts). Thursdays are my slack day. DS1 is usually in preschool (they are on vacation this week). I run my errands on Tues & Wed whenever possible. Mondays & Fridays is gym and tumbling class with both boys adn require lots of running around. Weekends are so variable it is hard to know if I am going to be able to relax or not. Thursdays though almost always mean I can do whatever I want for the whole morning. DS2 & I can go to the gym, go shopping, stay home, whatever. Apart from dropping off & picking up DS1 I have no requirements

Buddhism for Mothers Ch 4

Dealing with Anger

  • Family life demands a volume of work & it can be a source of anger.
  • Skilfully managed anger can equip us with inner resources & provdes an opportunity for wisdom as we exlore & resolve it.
  • Anger includes many behaviors - sulking, withdrawing, behaving coldly, making snide comments
  • Anger does more damage to ourselves than to the object of our anger - it takes our energy, threatens our health & undermines our ability to make wise decisions.

Buddah said : Hatred can never cease by hatred. Hatred can only cease by love. This is an eternal love.

Angry actions tend to induce angry or defensive responses.

Anger has 3 components

  1. We perceive an object that we find unpleasant
  2. We exaggerate the perceived harm
  3. We develop a wish to harm

Anger leads to a harming mind which, if we want to make spiritual progress, we must abandon.

  • First recognize the negative force of the anger
  • Next look within to understand & eliminate the cause

Meditation can be used to generate a strong determination to abandon the mind of anger. Repeat a mantra such as "I will not give in to anger". It programs your mind to dealwith events that can trigger your anger & help develop a mind of patient acceptance. Life will always present irritations & suffering. Develop equanimity so that a calm wisdom rather than emotional extremes will inform our actions.

Make a point of apologizing when you lose your temper.

Remind yorself that it is not always your job to punish offensive behavior - karma will see to them. We can even challenge ourselves to feel compassion for those creating bad karma for themselves.


  • We can reach a point where the only way to get on with our life is to forgive & offer amnesty. To harbor resentment can make our mind too small for any joy in life. In some cases forgiveness is the ultimate act of love & compassion.
  • Don't force it, wait until you are ready & that can take a lot of time & work.
  • It may help to remember times when we have caused harm to others, acted selfishly & required forgiveness. Or maybe we need to face up to our responsibility in the conflict


We need to notice our thoughts, not go for a ride with them every time. When that happens we need to stop it.

5 options for dealing with disturbing thoughts

1. Dwell on the positive - remind ourselves of the positive qualities of a person, or their acts of kindness. Practice giving people the benefit of the doubt - maybe it isn't about us & we shouldn't be so quick to take offense
2. Consider the results of our thoughts - anger does more harm to you than to the object of your anger. Everytime you respond in anger, you condition yourself to respond in anger again. Ask yourself - what kind of mother did I want to grow nto? what kind of relationship did I want with my children? Do i want to add to their suffering?
3. Distract ourselves - be mindful of when we are paying inappropriate amounts of attention to negative emotions & stop yourself. Breathe deeply to ground yourself
4. Consider the alternatives - question your thinking. Thoughts come & go & often have very little to do with what actually is. Our mind creates our reality. Its up to us to decide how important we choose to make a disturbing event.
5. Use our willpower - be firm & tell yourself "enough" or "let go". Use meditation to to generate a strong determination to abandon the mind of anger.

What We Can Do

  • Remember angry words & thoughts are bad for your karma
  • Remember anger is a passing state, so don't empower it
  • Be present with your anger without indulging it - be aware of its effects on your body
  • Look inward for the causes of anger so you can eliminate them
  • Use meditation to generate a strong determination to abandon the mind of anger
  • Share some of your struggles with your children so they can learn from your mistakes
  • Apologize to your children when you're in the wrong
  • Inform your children when you are in a bad mood so they don't take it personally
  • Consider forgiving those you are angry with if only for your own sake
  • Remember the 5 options for dealign with unwholesome thoughts

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Buddhism for Mothers Ch 3

Finding Calm

Nothing lasts. The bad mood will pass. We can weather it for now & avoid assigning it any major significance. Motherhood forces us to reflect onour lives, on what is important to us & how we want to live the rest of our lives.

Motherhood is the world's Greatest Learning Experience.

Assume an attitude of hospitality toward the emotion - Oh its you again anger. Don't avoid it & don't judge it, just attend to it without getting too involved in it. Accept the existance of the negative emotions. Stand back& watch them, how they affect us. Labeling it rise, have being & pass away. A negative mind state can only sabotage your efforts to improve a situation.

Confusing because it undermines our happiness but it's easy to tell ourselves that it's a worthy mindset. Treat it the same as others. Be mindful of it. Identify the beliefs making us feel the guilt, monitor how much time is spent on it & how much is helpful. Writing out your thoughts is very helpful. Meditate, creating space around your problem.

The ability to perceive all aspects of our lives with acceptance & patience rather than our usual extreme reactions. The ability to keep calm.
  • inclusiveness,
  • even-mindedness,
  • non-attachment,
  • non-discrimination,
  • balance,
  • freedom from extremes,
  • letting go

Buddah taught that the greatest happiness comes from a peace uneffected by changing conditions. Accept what is & stop trying to control the inevitable & the impermanent

8 Worldly Conditions - gain & loss; pleasure & pain; praise & blame; fame & disrepute

Tolerance does not mean being relaxed & comfortable. It means accepting discomfort & finding ease in that accepting of discomfort. The irritations around you don't need to control you. Use them to practice patience.

Each moment is of equal importance, make it precious. Perceive it with complete acceptance, free of judgement, rating & demands.

Buddah said -
Do not pursue the past.
Do not lose yourself in the future.
The past no longer is.
The future has not come.
Looking deeply at life as it is
In the very here & now,T
he practitioner dwells
In stability and freedom.

The keys to peace & calmess are within. We all have a Buddah Nature. To find comfort we only need to turn inward

What We Can Do
  • Be compassionate with yourself
  • Remind yourself this emotion will pass.
  • Share this knowledge with your children
  • Ask yourself what you an learn from this situation
  • See each new emotion as a visitor worthy of hospitality
  • Watch & label your emotions
  • Be aware when you find your are caught up in a negative emotion & stop & give yourself a chance to think of alternatives
  • Write or meditate to help resolve your feelings
  • Strive to accept imperfection & discomfort
  • Choose a spacious response to petty irritations when you can
  • Try to appreciate the preciousness of every moment

Friday, October 20, 2006

Tell us five things you plan to accomplish this weekend

1. Drive an hour to return the cell phones we bought last weekend & cancel the service
2. Start over with new cell phones with a different company.
3. Not lose my mind while dealing with the cell phone fiasco and 2 small boys (yeah,right)
4. Find the source of the cat pee smell in the living room (it has to be the sofa or the carpet but while the air around them smells like cat pee, neither of them actually smells like it)
5. Do the Mission Possible assignment.

Really the only thing I am looking forward to is the mission possible assignment. I'd gladly pay large sums for someone else to deal with the other 4.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


People are often unreasonable,
Illogical and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind,
People may accuse
You of selfish motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful,
You will win some false friends
And some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank,
People may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building,
Someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness,
They may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today,
People will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have,
And it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you have anyway.

You see, in the final analysis,I
It is between you and God;

It never was between you and them anyway.

~Mother Teresa~

If you could live in any era of history, what would it be, and why?

This is always a challenging question for me because there is so much to take into account. The thing is, for most of the eras that I find interesting & would like to have lived in, I would be dead now due to my appendix rupturing (I just remembered that it was exactly 4 years ago today, 11 days after my csection when i had to have out) The first successful appendectomy was in the late-19th century. That is assuming I survived the breech birth of my son right before it. Let's just ignore these things....

I'd love to live in Tudor times because that is my favorite time period. The age of discovery, so many new things being learned or old thing being rediscovered. New countries, new people, new foods, etc. The Reformation going on. It would be an exciting time to live. But I'd like as not get burned at the stake, or persecuted in some other way for my beleifs, which dampens my enthusiasm just a bit.

I'd also love to live in Roman times, between the rise of Ceasar and say 200ad or so. When Rome was out conquoring the world & again new things were being discovered as the world expanded. Plus there would be the chance to participate in the actual pagan rites of the mystery religions, like the Eleusinian Mysteries. I'd love to know what the true rituals were & how they vary from our own modern day practices. I'd love to experience a ritual at the temple of Vesta or Aphrodite. Just from a point of faith it would be fascinating, then add being able to see the 7 Wonders of the World, and all teh other incredible places now lost to us. I'd like to live in ancient Egypt for the same reason, and I'd love to visit the Great Library or see the pyramids actually being built.

Monday, October 16, 2006

new holiday

It's Bake a Pie Day! Today is the day when it is traditional to bake a pie. Pies are traditional food - both sweet and savory. Theya re the original convenience food, something nutritious wraped in a bread crust making it easy to take with you. Pies come in all sizes, from small 'pocket pies' to the mammoth "4 and 20 blackbirds' sized pie. People love pie but nowadays most just dont have the time to actually make one, or they don't know how. It used to be there was help in the kitchen for most people, even that help was a daughter or sister or mother. But now there is usually just one person in the kitchen and that person has to make breakfast,lunch & dinner, nevermind adding a pie to that. So since WWII, one day a year has been set aside to just make pies. Permission is granted by society to have pie for breakfast, lunch or dinner (or even all 3). There are many kids of pie so that does not mean you have to eat chocolate cream or apple pie only. You can make chicken pot pie or quiche. Let me also point out that it is Bake a Pie day, not Make a Pie day. It is perfectly acceptable to get a Swanson pot pie or a Mrs.Smith apple pie because you bake them yourself. So go bake some pie and enjoy!

We made pumpkin pie, from a fresh pumpkin with the help of Joy of Cooking. It's cooling now. And we have about 5 more cups of pumpkin puree to use up.

the weekend

We were going to go to get new cell phones Saturday morning. It's an hour drive to the place with the service we needed (that is a whole other story in itself). Tower goes down Fri night so DH has to go deal with that first thing but he said he had a plan so someone would relieve him by 10:30 so we could go. 10:30 rolls around....11....11:30 no call from him, no sign of him & his cell goes straight to voice mail. (he is standing AT a cell tower & his phone barely registers a signal, that is why it needs replaced) right before noon he calls& says somone is on their way. Now,I am a bit testy at this point. Ok, I am furious (it is that time of the month & I know I am furious hormonally & merely testy situationally). We finally meet up with him & drive into the traffic hell of the shopping plaza in question. It is 1:30 when we get to Circuit City. 2 hours later we leave with phones. The boys were great for about 20 minutes but the other hour & half or so they were rampaging demons, running around & touching everything. We had no idea it would take 2 hours to sign up & get phones. So being wildly distracted by demons I failed to ask a specific question, or perhaps I asked it & was misinformed or misunderstood the answer. Possibly I didn't really understand fully what I wanted to do in the first place. Whatever. Out of 14 phones to choose from I somehow managed to select the ONLY one that doesn't let you download ringtones from the internet or from messages. You can only get them from the Get It Now thing. So now I have to go back to the traffic hell plaza and exchange it. But it gets better. We may be switching carriers so DH & I (and our little demons) all have to back return everything to Circuit City and then go to a DIFFERENT store and repeat the process.

I love technology, but by and large, technology hates me.

So that trip sucked up all of Saturday. After the phone marathon we took the demons to an indoor playground & let them spend an hour climbing around a habitrail thing & then we they were tired enough we went to Olive Garden for an early dinner (good thing we were early too because about 15 minutes after we sat down every high school student going to the Homecoming Dance suddenly appeared looking for a table the wait was 90 minutes by the time we left.

Sunday we went to Applefest. We were going to meet up with various people and we'd said "we'll call you when we get there & work out wehre to meet up". There is NO cell coverage at all where Applefest is. No ATMs either & nothing takes visa. I was misinformed about the location of an ATM by the clerk at the lodege, walked a quarter mile to a store where I was told "Oh the bank took that out MONTHS ago because it was hardly used. They know that at the lodge". (further evidence of technology hating me) Fortunately she very nicely cashed a $25 check for me and the mess hall also took a check. I brought the checkbook because I wasn't sure about the ATM situation at the lodge but I knew none of the vendors took plastic. Despite all this walking we were there early enough to get on the second hayride of the day,which was only half full & the line waited about a minute. When we got back the line was huge and the tractors were full. So yeah us! The kids also got to enjoy the haybale playground largly empty, except for some other small kids. We went back later with Mel & family & it was full of 10-15 year olds who tend to knock down and bowl over the small kids in their play. But the boys had a blast both times. We also spent a lot of time by the creek with the boys tossing rocks into it, along with all the other kids there. Not sure what the attraction of tossing rocks into a creek is but it occupied a good half hour. We stayed much longer than we intended & had a great time. Depending on how the phone thing shakes out we may go again next Sunday.

We got a pumpkin there & Havoc insisted it be made into pumpkin pie. From the way he was holdign it & talking to it I had thought he might not want it cut up but he was all for it being made into pie. DH found a recipie but first the pumpkin had to be baked for 90 minutes in pieces, pureed and cooled and THEN you can start the pie process. Well, it was almost 7:30p when the pumpkin was pureed. So the pie will be made today. havoc insists that he LOVES pumpkin pie. it is his favorite. He last had pumpkin pie a year ago, one my mom bought from a store. Canned pumpkin pie makes a sweeter pie than real pumpkin. Different texture too. We;ll see how it goes.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Moving Beyond Definitions - Over-Identifying With Labels

As humans, we possess the tendency to name and categorize things. This applies to everything from plants and animals to styles to ourselves and others. Everyone who walks the earth carries or has carried some label, such as white, old, artist, animal lover, parent, child, or liberal, that either they themselves or others used to define them. While labels can help us form useful first impressions, they can also act as a thick filter between the world and ourselves. Expectations are derived from labels. When we begin to define others in terms of their profession, looks, wealth, or political background, it becomes harder to accept them unconditionally. And when we define ourselves with strict labels, we limit ourselves and our potential by effectively pigeonholing our identities. The challenge lies in finding a balance between that which defines us and our evolving natures.

We first learn who we are when we are children. Identity is forged by society, which labels us so-and-so's children, a boy or a girl, a reader or a jock, or shy or outgoing. This is natural, considering that characterizing others upon first meeting is an automatic process. But when we regard these initial impressions as unchangeable, we deny the fact that we are all blessed with roles that can change from one day to the next or exist simultaneously with other roles. It is possible to be both a parent and an artist and a runner and a businesswoman. If you were to choose a single role, such as artist, it would limit the paths you could take. If you were, however, to say, "I am a creative person, though that creativity is sometimes blocked," it would open new avenues of exploration because you could express your creativity in many ways.

People are so much more than what they do or what they have done and all people are potentially capable of taking on a new identity or letting go of an old one because of emotional or environmental factors. You may choose to be "a strong-willed executive" in one moment in time and "a nurturing parent" in another. Yet you remain wholly you. Though labels can be a good stepping off point, they are no substitute for understanding who we really are. If everyone was encouraged to look beyond labels, open-mindedness and tolerance would be the inevitable result.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Would you choose differently if you could choose your occupation again? Why? How?

No I would't. Not either of them. Though I didn't actually choose my last occupation. I just sort of fell into telecom, or drifted. Yeah, it was a slow process so drifted is probably a better description. I really enjoyed it & can't really think of anything I would have prefered to do then. Now I am a SAHM, which I did choose, and cannot imagine not being. it was a good choice. 3 years from now, when both little boys are in school all day 5 days a week I will be able to choose again what I want to do and so far I have no clue. I'm taking the winter off & doing absolutely nothing (i will have spent the previous year driving back & forth from the Primary school 3x a day with one kid in half day an one in full day. That is 6 30 minute drives 5 days a week. I deserve a couple of months of not needing to go anywhere), assuming we have no urgent need for me to work, but then in Jan 2010, or thereabouts I will return to something in the workforce.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Oh yeah. I've got clutter. If it wasn't hiding my camera batteries in it I would take a picture of it. :) DOes it bother me? No not really, as long as it is organized somehow. Like in piles. Clutter in piles is fine; clutter scattered around all over the place is just a big mess & needs put in piles. I also like it to be contained in bins. I have lots of mesh pop up bins and plastic bins all around the house, piled with clutter. It's clutter because it is unorganized. If all the trucks were in one bin and all the Little People in another then it would just be storage, but since they are all jumbled together in various bins piled hapazardly ontop of one another, they are clutter. People say "how do you keep your family room so clean?" I say, "lidded bins". You can't find a darn thing without opening all of them & scattering stuff all over the place, but once yu toss all the stuff back into whatever bin is convenient you suddenly have the appearance of being neat & organized. Only you know your deep dark secret. :)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Definition of Unconditional Love

"I love you as you are as you seek to find your own special way to relate to the world, or the way you feel that is right for you. It is important that you are the person you want to be and not someone that I or others think you should be. I realize that I cannot know what is best for you although perhaps sometimes I think I do. I've not been where you have been, viewing life from that angle you have, I do not know what you have chosen to learn, how you have chosen to learn it, with whom or in what time period. I have not walked life looking through your eyes so how can I know what you need.

I allow you to be in the world without a thought or word of judgment from me about the deeds you undertake. I see no error in the things you say and do, in this place where I am. I see that there are many ways to perceive and experience the different facets of our world. I allow without reservation the choices you make in each moment.

I make no judgment of this, for if I were to deny your right to evolution, then I would deny that right to myself and all others. To those who would choose a way I cannot walk, whilst I may not choose to add my power and my energy to this way, I will never deny you the gift of love that God/dess has bestowed within me for all creation, as I love you so I shall be loved, as I sow, so I shall reap.

I allow you the universal right of free will to walk your own path, creating steps, or to sit a while if that is what is right for you. I will make no judgment of these steps, whether they are large or small, nor light or heavy or that they lead up or down, for this is just my viewpoint. I see you do nothing and judge it to be unworthy and yet it may be that you bring great healing as you stand blessed by the light of God/dess.

I cannot always see the higher picture of divine order. For it is the inalienable right of all life to choose their own evolution and with great love I acknowledge your right to determine your future.

In humility, I bow to the realization, that the way I see is best for me, does not have to mean that it is also right for you. I know that you are led as I am, following the inner excitement to know your own path.

I know that the many races, religions, customs, nationalities and beliefs within our world bring us great richness and allow us the benefit of teachings of such diverseness. I know we each learn in our own unique way in order to bring that love and wisdom back to the whole. I know that if there were only one way to do something, there would need to be only one person. I will not only love you if you behave in a way I think you should, or believe in those things I believe in, I understand you are truly my brother and sister though you may have been born in a different place and believe in another God/dess than I.

The love I feel is for all of God/ess world. I know that every living thing is part of God/dess and I feel a love deep with every person, and all trees, and flowers, every bird, river, ocean and for all the creatures in all the world.

I live my life in loving service, being the best me I can, becoming wiser in the perfection of divine truth, becoming happier in the joy of unconditional love."
-- Author Unknown

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

TV programs

Of all the TV programs, which one have you watched the most? Why?
Is it connected in some way to your life and/or perspective?

I think the show with Most Episodes Viewed would have to be Good Eats. I love that show & have watched it from it's debut on FoodTV. I love that Alton explains the reasons behind why you do the things you do when preparing food because it helps me make similar things on my own. He's convinced me to try foods I don't generally like - though he has failed with cabbage & onions. It is entertaining & I always take something away from it.

The show that has been Watched the Longest would be Dr Who. I have been watching it since I first encountered it on PBS in the late 70's but there was that 10-15 year or so hiatus between the last Doctor 7 episode and the first Doctor 9 episode. (I'm not sure how long it was because I relied on erratic PBS viewing & who knows how long after they first aired on the BBC they made it to PBS. I recall watching new to me Who in 1993 or so, but as much as I love the show I have never managed to know the actual BBC dates). I have not seen every episode, in fact I have only seen 1 episode with Doctor 2 and maybe 3 with Doctor 1, but I have seen nearly all of Doctors 3-7. Dr Who & Battlestar Galactica were my intro to the world of SciFi and started a life long love of the genre. (Star Wars was around that time but it was a one off movie in 1977 & didn't have the memory power of TV shows with endless repeats). Nowthat they are on back to back on SciFi on Friday nights I am in geek and nostalgia heaven (despite the tendancy of both to get a tad bit preachy about US policy).

Monday, October 09, 2006


I've been reading Buddhism for Mothers. It's very good. Right now it is talking about the importance of meditation & how moms haven't got time for that. So she likes the concept of 'mindful meditation' that many Zen monestaries teach. It's totally focusing on what you are doing. Putting your mind completely in the NOW of folding laundry or washing dishes or whatever. Not thinking about what you need to do next or what you might cook for dinner or whether the car's registration is due yet. Just "Folding the sleeve in, now folding the oher sleeve, smoothing it down, the fabric feels smooth & cool, folding up the bottom half" etc. It is supposed to be very calming & soothing. It also makes things take a bit longer but the tradeoff is mental peace & the laundry is folded. So I decided to take a mindful shower. That was probably the most decadently sensuous experience I have had in ages. 10 minutes of just thinking about how the water felt, how my scalp felt when I washed my hair, the slipperiness of soap on my arms. I also dried off & put on lotion mindfully. I was so incredibly relaxed when I was done & really it only added about 5 minutes to my usual shower time.

Tomorrow I am going to try cooking mindfully... or as mindfully as possible with toddlers. But she said that is the important part - do what is possible, when it is possible & don't worry about how much or how little you are doing it, just take the opportunities as they come & try to be as much in the NOW as possible, being as mindful of things as you can & after awhile you will be able to summonthe relaxed calm feeling when you need it without needing the meditation. But you should still keep meditating even then. The more you do it, the more opportunities you find.

The weekend highlights

We spent it in Maryland. We met up with friends Saturday & went to the Aquarium, stayed in a hotel & went to the Ren Fest Sunday. It was so rainy on Saturday. We managed to get from the parking lot to Cheesecake Factory for lunch without getting too wet and there was a lull in the rain when we dashed to the Aquarium. We were there about 3 hours. We saw everything in Pier 3 (exhibits are broken up into 4 Piers), which was Australia, the rain forest & reptiles. Mayhem was on his harness, which looks like a puppy backpack, so he was free to run all over the place & was loving it. We looked down on the area with the stingrays & he was convinced they were leaves floating in the water. Every time we came to a tank of fish he would shout CHIFSES! And point. Havoc was enjoying just looking. He was rather quiet, I think he was a little overwhelmed. We gave him our old digi camera to use and he took about 10 photos there. We left to get something to eat (the others had not had lunch, we'd arrived early to eat), intending to come back & visit Pier 4, which is dolphins. We went to this place called Pete's, got soaked to the skin in the rain running there and then waited FOREVER for our food to come. It wasn't like it was that busy at 3pm. But the gap between appetizer and the meal was so long we started helping ourselves to coffee & bread from the nearby server station. (3 people ordered salads, 2 an actual meal & I had ordered an appetizer, which for some reason arrived with the meals) The kids were great for about an hour - 6 kids under 5. They sat & colored & played quietly but by the time our food arrived the kids were bored stiff (so were the adults) so they started running around the table (we were in an alcove) and behaving like normal active toddlers. If they had fed us with any sort of promptness we'd have been long gone before the kids reached hyper stage. We then gave up on the Aquarium as they close at 5 and it was nearly 5 when we finally got out of that lousy restaurant - and the food was not that great & overpriced. Then we went for ice cream for Havoc's birthday at Marble Slab Ice Cream. A good time was had by all.

Then we headed to the hotel. Havoc loves hotels. He took more pictures of our hotel room than he did in the aquarium. :) It had an indoor pool and we took the kids down to it to swim for about an hour. Havoc swam with water wings for the first time, really swam, using his arms & legs, not just sort of kicking around on a noodle like he usually does. It was a late bedtime but the boys were asleep by 9:30 & we joined the others across the hall for Chinese food, but we all crashed by 10:30.

Sunday was the Ren Fest. OMG! The traffic! I guess since it rained Saturday everyone held off going until Sunday. We left the hotel about 9:45 for a 16 mile drive. It should have taken about 20 minutes top. Ren opens at 10 and we figured we'd be there just after it opened. WRONG! The line to get to the parking lot began on I97, 5 miles from the faire site. It took us over an hour to travel those 5 miles. Our friends left the hotel about 15 minutes after we did and arrived at the faire 45 minutes later than we did. It was packed with people inside. Too crowded to really be as enjoyable as usual. When we left at 3:30 there was still a mile long line of traffic waiting to get in to the parking area! We did not do garb for only the 3rd time in 14 years (we didn't in 1992 because that was the first time & we didn't have any & we didn't in 2002 because I was 37 weeks pg & nothing fit). It had been so rainy we just didn't want to deal with mud in garb. We only took about a dozen photos which is an all time low for us & just proves it was too crowded to see anything. Havoc had his camera and took about 50 so we have lots of toddler eye view shots (people from the waist down). The boys dropped off to sleep before we even got out of the parking lot & slept about 90 minutes, waking up just as we were pulling into Pizzaria Uno's. We got home about 7pm.. I was bone weary, still am. It was a fun weekend. I'll have to put up a "Havoc's vacation" collection of his photos. He takes well composed photos, only slightly marred by the occasional finger in the shot or extreme blurriness, but about 2/3 of his photos are good ones. Pity they are almost all of people's legs. :)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Buddhism for Mothers thoughts so far

This is slow reading, not because it is tedious, but because it is a lot to absorb. I read maybe half a chapter & then have to think about it. I'm at the part about being mindful & that includes watching your thoughts & reactions. Not judging them, you are suppoed to be kind to yourself as well as others, but just watching them & considering why you do what you do. I tend to read things & then try & place myself on a scale in my mind. How good am I at doing that? How likely am I to do that? How far short have I fallen of this? This is all ego & wanting to rank myself, compared against some ideal me that exists in my mind. It doesn't matter what went before. It matters what is now. I need to let go of my need to rank myself in the past & just strive to succeed in the present. The present makes the future. So I need to accept - yep, you weren't mindful of these things before. You acted right but not from the best motives. It's done. Today try to do better & not worry about what was.

The idea is if you start deciding to do things out of compassion & kindness for others, rather than for your needs & wants; you will get into the habit of doing them for that reason & you will become a compassionate & kind person. Become the change you want to see in the world. Positive thoughts & actions make positive things happen. You get what you expect. These thoughts have been a part of my pagan life, but this idea of karma is different. Buddhism has no savior or god head so there is no one waiting to punish or reward you. Not sure how I feel about the idea of there being no Divine. Or is it that we are all part of the Divine, so the Divine is part of us & not seperate. I beleive that we are part of the Divine but I guess it is the Catholic in me that wants to think of the Divine as also a seperate entity, just as we are all seperate entities.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Buddhism for Mothers Ch 2

Mindfulness - knowing what is happening at the time it is happening

We all are a bit scatty sometimes, there is no need to beat yourself up about it, just be aware of it & do your best to overcome it. Be aware of the moment & respond to what it needs

Mindfulness is is an awareness of all the present moment contains: the sensations of your body, your feelings, perceptions, assumptions & tendancies. This helps you understand what is actually going on in your mental process & can help you head off the negative reactions.

Mindfulness saves energy & time. You make fewer mistakes when you pay attention to what you are doing & saying.

Meditation & mindfulness give you a mental holiday from the usual round of worries & plans. They helpyou understand that negative emotions are transient states so there is no need to get too caught up in them. We can watch them develop without identifying too closely with them.

Telling yourself what you are doing, while you are doing it,is a way to hold on to mindfulness. Avoid rating the experience. Not rating helps build feelings of acceptance instead of judgement.

Practice mindful meditation by being in the moment without the mental commentary. Be aware of just walking or washing, notice every detail of the task, pay attention to the sensations of your body, listen attentively & pause before responding, focus on your breathing

If you want to know what the future will be like, look at your life right now.

We chose our responses & our responses are far more important in the long run than the event itself.

Ask yourself - how can I best use the present moment?

Karma is not about the Universe judging you & punishing or rewarding you. It is about cause & effect. Everything you do, say, or think has an effect of some sort.

Buddah said: Wherever we go, wherever we remain, the results of our actions follow us.

He also said this about creating Karma:
The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character.
So watch the thought & its ways with care,
And let it spring from love
Born out of concern for all living beings.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Buddhism for Mothers Ch 1

4 Noble Truths
There is suffering
Attachment causes suffering
Suffering can end
There is a path to send suffering

As mothers we understand there is suffering in life; and we have experienced a truer love. Through loving a child we deepen our capacity to be a loving person for others as well.

Buddhism teaches compassion for all living beings & that must include ourselves - don't waste energy on feeling guilty & self-recriminations, just be aware & pay attention. Be gentle, patient & persistent with all you do.

Be self-aware, be in the now

The 8 Fold Path
1. Skillful Understanding - seeing life the way it is
2. Skillful Thought - being serious about Buddhist practice

3. Skillful Speech
4. Skillful Action
5. Skillful Livelihood
Speak & act in a way that shows compaasion & kindness to others. Path to wisdom requires living ethically

6. Skillful Effort
7. Skillful Mindfulness
8. Skillful Concentration

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Metta Sutra

I'm at a chapter about loving everyone & treating everyone with kindness & letting go of ego. She gives an example that even when she is furious she knows that everyone is happier when her ex-Dh's wife is happier, so she makes the ex-wife happy. My first thought is 'but then she wins' and that is ego. you're supposed to give up your need to be right, to control & to be angry & then this kindess comes to you. You are supposed to love EVERYONE as much as a mother loves her child. everyone. That is a hell of a leap. One I'm not so sure i am ready to make.

This is a version of the Metta Sutta, tHe Buddah's Words on Kindness. Many people chant it or just read it aloud every day

This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech.
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied.
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and in saftey,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born,
May all beings be at ease!
Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings:
Radiating kindness over the entire world
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.

meet a famous person

There are a lot of people I would like to meet who are famous historically, not really too many who are famous currently living, in fact I am not really coming up with anyone currently alive.

Foremost among the no longer living I would like to meet Mary, the mother of Jesus. His whole childhood, apart from that episode in the temple, is unrecorded and I am really curious about it, and about her and what it was like being the Mother of God. Were there temper tantrums when he was 3? Was he a moody adolescent? Did he do his chores willingly or did you have to nag him? How much of a scandal was there really about his birth and what exactly does the bible mean by "the brothers & sisters of Jesus"? what did she think of Mary Magdalen? I have a lot of questions for her actually.

I'd also like to meet Elizabth I and Henry VIII and get a few historical ambiguities cleared up.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

If you could have a designer come into a room

of your house and redecorate it for you, which room would it be and what would you ask them for?

hhhmmmm... I'd love my kitchen to be remodeled but that requires major structural changes and involves an architect...

So if it was just a designer I'd like my family room redone. It's big, L shaped and white, with creamy beige carpet. It has an odd conglomeration of furniture (I've expounded on this in other posts - the sofa!)and lacks any coherent...well, any coherent anything actually. I'd like it to be warmed up with color & warm toned wood floors. I'd love furniture that at least went together if not actually matched. I'd love some built in storage and a new desk for my computer. Moving the wood stove from the far corner to the middle corner would be nice (so would a new wood stove). and something needs to be done about the former entryway area that is part of the family room as well.