Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Last Slice of 2015

First off:  HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELI!  Today my oldest son turns 22.  He actually turned 22 at 12:17 am.  We were quite relieved he came on the 31st of March.  We were sightly worried that he would turn out to be an April Fool's baby.

By the end of May he will graduate college, be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S Army, and get married.  We have a busy next couple of month ahead of us considering the youngest male-child also has major life events coming up as well!  Caleb will try out for a college sports team and graduate high school.

And guess what?  Eli and Caleb both graduate their respective institutions on the same day!  Eli will graduate from MSU on the morning of May 15, be commissioned into the Army in the afternoon, all in Springfield, MO, then we will rush home to be in time to witness Caleb's graduation from Webb City High School that same evening.  That is going to be quite a busy day!

While I have enjoyed getting back into the habit of daily writing, I am also kind of relieved its over for now considering the schedule I will have for the next couple of months.  I may decide to pick it back up this summer when I will (hopefully) have more time in my hands.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Through the Back Window

A prompt on the daily prompts site I use (not today's, though) was to go to the window and look out and describe what your see.  I give you: My Backyard.

The first thing I notice are the deer.  There are four medium does grazing on the new spring grass in our back yard, three under the trees and one off from the rest, out in the field.  Softly I call my family to come to the window and we share a quiet moment watching the deer.  THe most deer we've ever counted in our yard is 15.

The next thing that catches my attention is the green fuzziness of the trees and bushes behind our house.  The Crabapple tree has a darker green fuzz than the Rose of Sharon and Lilac bushes that grow just outside it's shade.I can't wait until my trees and bushes bloom out in pink, red and purple!  The trees in the thicket are all a light, spring green.  The Bradford Pear trees are all decked out in white flowers and I wrinkle my nose, glade that I am indoors looking out.  When the Bradford Pear trees bloom in the spring they smell of rotting marine life, a smell I can certainly do without!

Just at the edge of our patio is my rose bush, growing wild and untamed.  I had plans to dig it up last year but it unexpectedly bloomed after 10 years of dormancy.  I am not a great fan of roses, but this particular plant turned out to be most breath-taking and received a stay of execution; we will see what this year produces.

The sun is fading and it's getting difficult to make out details of the yard through the window, so I return to my computer and start the day's blog.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bedtime Stories

What was your favorite book as a child?

This was the prompt the other day from the site where I sometimes get my blog ideas.

I was fortunate in that my mother believed in reading every day to me and my brother.  If we were lucky, she would read to us throughout the day.

I remember I had a collection of "Little Golden Books".  I don't know who published them or how I came to have them, though I suspect it was my mothers parents who got us the books since they owned a store and had easy access to such things.

My favorite of these books was Rupert the Rhinoceros.  It was about this poor rhinoceros that was captured in "deepest, darkest Africa" to be taken to a zoo somewhere in the United States.  The problem with poor Rupert was that he always charged at things and everyone was afraid of him!  They finally figured out that Rupert needed glasses and that he only charged at things because he couldn't really see and he was scared.  I think some little girl visiting the zoo figured it out, so they took Rupert to the optometrist where he got a big pair of red glasses and HURRAH! he could see!  He stopped charging things and everybody loved him and he lived happily ever after tin the zoo.

Odd little book, wouldn't you agree?

The reason I loved this book so much was because I also had undiagnosed vision problems for a while.  Life got better when I got glasses.

I suffered through glasses for three years, which helped some, but didn't fix the problem as well as it could.  Then I got contact lenses that were specially designed to hold my eyeball in a certain shape during the day while I had them in.  WOW!  Miracle!  I could see!

Just like Rupert.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

I Wanna Be A Pirate, Too!

The month of May fast approaches, so it's now time to brush up on my pirate singing!

In our house, May means a trip to the Renaissance Festival at the Castle of Muskogee in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

We have been going to this particular festival for about 8 years.  We originally went because we got free tickets from a friend.  We were so-so about going, but then heard that our favorite singing pirates were also going to perform there for the first time, and that changed our minds!

We have been following the Jolly Rogers singing pirates for close to 20 years.  Caleb is a huge fan, and is even know to some of his friends as "pirate boy".  Caleb and the pirate Bloodbeard share a special bond (the bond of bad jokes, to be exact) and he has even been on stage with them a couple of times to share in the fun!  

Seeing the pirates every year in the fall and in the spring has really become one of the highlights in our family adventures!  Its been great becoming friends with these guys!

March 27 Post

Well my post from yesterday didn't get posted and is probably out there somewhere in cyberland.  I will try to re-create it:

I have spent what little free time I have had this evening looking for addresses.

Do you realize how difficult it is to look up addresses?

Used to be, you just went and pulled out your big ol' phone book white pages and look up the person by name, and you had their phone number, address and zip code.

We no longer have a land-line phone at our house so we don't have a phone book.

My next though was to go to the internet, which I did, but you can put in a name and the internet will spit back out at you 50 different people with that name.  Narrow the parameters and you might get the results down to two or three matches, which would be helpful if you knew that person's address to pick the right one, but it's the address I'm trying to find in the first place!

I am very frustrated!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

28 Years Ago

It was 28 years ago and my brother and I were on spring break.  We were spending the week in Commerce, Oklahoma at the house my mother grew up in.  my grandmother had passed a couple of months before and we needed to go through everything it sort it into throw-away, give-away, and garage sale.  It was during this week that I had my first, second, and third date with my husband.

My husband has known me almost my whole life.  He remembers when I was born, my grandfather running into their house and announcing to all within that he had himself "a new papoose".  His mom went down to the dress shop and got a sweet, ruffly, red dress to send to my parents via my grandparents, that I am told I wore home from the hospital and had my newborn picture taken in.

Just a couple of weeks later my parents brought me to Commerce to show off to all the neighbors and relatives.  My husband remembers being outside playing football with his friends when his parents called him in to see the new baby.  He remembers getting to hold me when I was  two weeks old.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Grumpy Old Men

I went after school this evening to visit an old friend.  We've know Gerald for approximately 25 years.  We used to be neighbors.

His kids were in high school and college when we met, and he had recently started dating Anne, the love of his life.  They married a couple of years later.  They were married for 15 years before she died.

He had grand kids around the ages of my children, and he out a pool in his backyard to keep all the kiddos entertained.  He even built a big deck around the pool and added a covered cabana on one side.

 Gerald had a friend we all called "T-Bird".  T-Bird liked buying classic cars and restoring them.  Unfortunately, T-Bird's wife did not share his enthusiasm for this hobby.  One time, T-Bird bought another classic, old car to restore, but hid it under the walnut tree between our house and Geralds's house.  Wouldn't you know it, Webb City soon had a giant storm that blew over that old walnut tree right onto T-Bird's car!

Next door to Gerald lives Benny, also known as Ben Rotten.  Benny is brother to the local personality Hank Rotten.  Benny is quite the character!  He loves karaoke and all kinds of sports.

I miss living next to Benny and Gerald.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Birthday Surprise!

Today is Caleb's birthday; he is turning 18.

March 24th being his birthday was actually quite a bit of a surprise for everyone since he wan't due until the end of April!

I just had the feeling that something wasn't quite right when I woke up that morning, so Mister G suggested we run by the hospital before he went to work and have the baby's heart rate checked out. Imagine our surprise when the hospital staff informed us that we would be having our baby that day!

Caleb was born 5-1/2 weeks early, which is a very long time in the world of newborn babies.  He was barely 5 lbs and fit into the palm of Mister G's hand.  We stayed in the hospital for a week after he was born.

Now he is all grown up and getting ready to graduate high school and go off to college and I will have no more babies at home.  Tonight we will celebrate with ice cream cake and presents (he got cargo shorts, headphones, fast food gift cards, and a running armband for him mp3 player...SSSHHHH! Don't tell him if you see him!).

To me, he will always be my "baby".

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Ridge

Tonight we watched The Ridge, a new film from Danny MacAskill.

Danny MacAskill, for those who do not know, is a Scottish daredevil.

This lastest film of his is just him riding his mountain bicycle.  What makes this film so amazing is where Danny is riding his bicycle.

You see, Danny is riding his bike along the Cuillin Ridgeline. The Cuillin is a range of rocky mountains located on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, the tallest of which is a whopping 3,255 ft.

Danny rides his bike up as far as he can, then carries his bike the rest of the way as he hikes to the summit. Then he gets on and rides all the way down!

It is a very well done film with a nice musical accompaniment, but it gives me the absolute heebie-jeebies! Part of the film shows the view from the daredevil's head-cam. And I am terrified of heights! This fellow is riding trails a mountain goat would likely give a second thought to.

It is a good film, so if you've got the stomach for it, go watch it!

Danny MacAskill's THE RIDGE

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Grumpy Poem

That's it, I quit, I am done
Today's blogging attempt: score none
Due to this being
My third attempt fleeing
Into the great cyber void

The first today about spring
And all of the lovely new green
'Till I added a pic
To enhance my fic
Now it's gone and I'm greatly annoyed

I started to write a new
Cleaver blog posting for you
But the system shut down
Making me frown
And leaving me so under-joyed

So all you get is my rhyme
But it's not really a crime
I am very tired
And no longer inspired
Today's blogging dreams now destroyed

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Gymnastics Tummy Ache

One of the things I love about judging gymnastics is how much judges are spoiled!

I get to travel and hang out with my friends, all while getting paid to do something I love!

Take this weekend, for instance.  I am at the Courtyard hotel, in a king room by myself, in the Kansas City suburb of Briarcliff, with a view overlooking the Kansas City skyline from across the river.  Four of my gymnastics friends are here, and we are having a fabulous time catching up.  And tonights sessions will finish in time for me to go visit friend in downtown KC.

Another of the things meet directors do for coaches and judges is put out fantastic amounts of really good food!  Unfortunately, this can be a drawback as well as an amenity.  And eating all this good food might be ok if I could get out and exercise, but my job at the meet is to sit for hours at a time and barely move.

Let me tell you why I will have a tummy ache come Monday:

Friday Night Menu
tacos, nachos, queso, guacamole, bean dip, salsa

Saturday Morning
bacon, toast, bagels and a selection of cream cheeses and lox, muffins, and a variety of fresh fruit

Saturday Lunch
soup selection, sandwich varieties, chips, veggies and dips, cookie varieties and pie

Saturday Dinner
lasagne, salad, bread sticks, chocolate cake, cookies and pie

Sunday Breakfast
pancakes, waffles, bacon, muffins, bagles (cream cheese and lox), fruit, and donuts

Sunday Lunch
wraps packed up in "to go' packages with chips and fruit

Friday, March 20, 2015

My Favorite Gymnasts of ALL TIME

I have been following the sport of gymnastics for a very long time.

I got my start in gymnastics at GOOCH'S GYMNASTICS CAMP in 1974.  This was a week-long activity camp hosted by the local P.E. teacher at the local grade school.  I was instantly in love.

I have seen some VERY GOOD gymnastics in all the years I have been involved with the sport.  I thought today I would share with you some of my favorite gymnasts.

My favorite female gymnast is Henrietta Onodi.

Henrietta is from Bekescsaba, Hungary. She competed in both the 1992 and 1996 Olympic games, earning a gold medal in Vault and a silver medal on the Floor Exercise in the 1996 Games.  She was was known for her twisting abilities, which went on to become known as her signature move. Where other gymnasts would throw the one and a half twist on floor, she would throw a triple twist.  Most gymnasts would simply jump from the low to the high bar, but Henrietta would add a twist on her way from one bar to another.  And she got so good a twisting on the balance beam that she now has a move named after her, a move so difficult it is still being performed on the international level today!

My favorite male gymnast of all time is Bart Connor.

Bart is from Morton Grove, Illinois (near Chicago) and came up through the ranks in the high school gymnastics system.  He graduated high school in 1976, and that summer went on to compete in his first Olympics.  He made three Olympic gymnastics teams (1976, 1980, and 1984) over the span of his carer, as well as competed for the University of Oklahoma (BOOMER!)  His gymnastics accolades include winning the 1976, 1980 and 1981 America Cup, the 1979 World Cup, and getting a gold medal on parallel bars with a score of a perfect 10 in the 1984 Olympics.  He currently lives and coaches in Norman, Oklahoma.

Just a bit of fun trivia, Bart occasionally comes to Webb City!  Both his parents graduated Webb City High School, and he comes back to visit family in the area.  He is a very friendly fellow and will even let you hold his gold medal if you ask nicely! :)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Goin' to Kansas City

I'm Goin' to Kansas City
Kansas City, here I come!

Every time I get ready to go to Kansas City I can't help but hear that tune by the late, great Fats Domino in my head. (want the song in your head, too? CLICK HERE TO LISTEN )

This weekend, I will be going to Kansas City to judge gymnastics.  My friend Laura owns KC Gymnastics and I will be judging at her league meet.  For me, this means working all day Saturday and part of the day Sunday.

I am doubly excited because I get to go up early and see my brother Jared.  He lives in Kearney, just a 20 min drive from where I will be staying.  He is going to drive down on Friday and we'll go see a movie or something, probably hang out and catch up for a bit.  Then on Saturday night, after I am done with my judging duties for the day, I'll go with Jared over to my friend Deborah's house, where a whole bunch of our friends will be having a cook out!  I haven't seen these friends since last August (the last time Deborah hosted a cook out) and I am excited to see them all again.

I really like going to judge gymnastics on the weekends.  I used to be a gymnast back in the 1970s, and judging is one way I can stay connected to a sport I truly loved!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Impossible Things

UGH! Writing everyday is HARD! (you have to read that part in a REALLY whiney voice, like Cherylene from Archer)

So I did what I normally do, went to  the internet to see if I could find an answer. I found an excellent resource for people wanting to write everyday. In fact, it's called 365 Days of Writing Prompts. Yay! Lucky me! The prompts are even arranged by date.

Here is a link for you if you are interested:

365 Days of Writing Prompts

Here is today's prompt:

March 18

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible
things before breakfast.” – the White Queen, Alice in Wonderland.

What are the six impossible things you believe in? (If you
can only manage one or two, that’s also okay.)

That is a fantastic quote from a favorite book!  Here is the passage being referred to:

So for your reading (and my writing) pleasure, I give you my six impossible things:

1. The Multiverse
      I believe in the theoretical reality that includes a possibly of an infinite number of parallel universes.

2. Replicators
     I believe not only that replicators are possible, but they are in the infancy stage of development  and are being marketed and used successfully as "3D printers".

3. Complex Particle Beaming
     I believe it will become possible to have my particles scrambled and sent somewhere else (a nice,  sunny beach in Tahiti, for example) to be reassembled without ill effect.

4. True Magic (not magic tricks)
     Magic is a type of energy and a set of methods for manipulating that energy into other, more useful forms that we have not yet explained or harnessed, rather like a particle collider.

5. Skillies
     The Cherokee Little People.  There are three kinds of Little People. The Laurel People, the Rock  People, and the Dogwood People.  The Rock People are the mean ones who practice "getting even", who even steal children and destroy property. But they are like this because their space has been invaded.  The Laurel People play tricks and are generally mischievous, but are also humorous and enjoy sharing joy with others.  Then there are the Dogwood People, who are good and take care of people.

6. Miracles
     There are surprising and welcome events that happen each day not explicable by natural or scientific laws and are therefore considered to be miracles.  You just have to be open to seeing them.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Hanging Out

Today I did something I haven't done in a really long time - hang out with a friend.

You will find as you get older that you spend less time with friends and more time with family.  And this is as it should be.  And this is not to say that I don't enjoy hanging out with my family, but there is something to be said for just hanging out with a friend.

This was not a planned activity for me today.  My morning had been planned to work on cleaning projects in the classroom.  But I got a call just before 8am that getting in to my classroom was going to be impossible today due to the fact hallway floors had just been waxed and no one was allowed to walk on them for at least 24 hours.

Since I was already up and around I called my friend and since she was in the same predicament as me, we decided that she should come over and we would hang out.

When she got to my house, she had me change my outfit - I forgot that today is St Patrick's Day and had forgotten to wear green!  She not only had on a green tee-shirt, but had painted her fingernails green as well!  We then went to Starbucks inside the Price Cutter so she could refill her coffee. I got a raspberry hot chocolate - Yummy!

First we went to  my friend's new house.  They are moving to Webb City at the end of the month! Yea!  My friend will soon be my neighbor!  She will have two bedrooms, a living room/dining room area, kitchen, two bathrooms, a laundry room and a one car garage.  My friend is very excited!

We then went to the dollar store to get get Easter stuff.  Both my friend and I host Easter Egg Hunts in our respective neighborhoods and the dollar store is the perfect place to get lots of candy to stuff in the plastic eggs.  After the dollar store we stopped in at the mall where we went to TJ Max and Vintage Stock.  We ran in to Mr C at Vintage Stock.  He said he was enjoying the time off for spring break just as much as me and my friend.

Our last shopping stop was the cool school shop for some cool Webb City gear.  My friend got her dad a birthday present there.  That pretty much filled our morning so we decided to go find noodles for lunch.  We both like Asian Pad noodles: she got Pad Thai and I got Pad See Ew.  We ate at the cool noodle place in Joplin with the giant bowl of noodles out front. Again - more Yummy!

Sadly, my friend had to head back to where she currently lives after lunch, but she will soon live in Webb City and I can see her to hang out more often then.

What a great day I had!  Can you guess who my friend is?

Monday, March 16, 2015


We were watching Scorpion this evening on T.V. and one of the minor characters got hurt and his heart stopped so the main characters Macgyvered a defibrillator from a car battery starter to restart his heart.  Kinda reminded me of Eli's eighth grade year.

Unbeknownst to us at the time, Eli was born with a heart condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome.  Basically, this means he was born with an extra AV node in his heart's electrical pathway system that would sometimes cause to heart to beat at an extraordinarily high rate.  The worst episode he suffered actually happened at school where his heart was measured at 240 beats per minute.  The normal resting heart rate for a human is around 80 beats per minute.

We actually spent this week of spring break in St Louis at the Children's Medical Center as Eli had heart surgery to correct the problem.  We went up a day early for the surgery so that me, Eli and Mr G could do some things together in the city before his stay in the hospital.  We ended up having lunch at an Italian restaurant on the Hill where we are certain we saw The Godfather himself!

We visited Union Station and the science center as well.  We ended up buying 3 pounds of fudge at the Fudgery and eating most of it that night!  We met a very beautiful German Shepherd service dog in our hotel the Eli got along with very well.

We are fortunate that Eli's surgery went well and there were no lasting complications.  I find it funny what things will spark memories, like an odd occurrence on a T.V show reminding us of brief week in our family's history.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


It was a really lovely day out today so I took some time just for me and went to sit out in the sky-chair and just daydream.

Daydreaming is a very worthwhile activity.  Done correctly you achieve a state somewhere between awake and asleep, a peculiar state of mind where anything is possible.

Sometimes I like to dream of where I would go if I had unlimited resources.  My three favorite daydream destinations are warm, sunny, white-sand beaches, world metropolitan cities, and amusement parks.

I love roller coasters! I have been fortunate enough to ride some of the most famous in this country.  My parents put me on Zingo, the oldest coaster west of the Mississippi, when I was three years old ( way back before there were safety standards! ).  I love to imagine getting to visit and ride all the best coasters in the world.

I love big cities.  So much energy and life packed into one place!  I have already had the pleasure of visiting some of the biggest cities in the world: New York, Las Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, London, Madrid, Barcelona.  I could so easily be a city girl.  Sometimes I like to daydream about what life would be like for me in the big city, what may house would look like,  how I would spend my days.  there is just so much to see and do in the city!

If you've been following my blog, you are probably not surprised to hear I would enjoy some time on a beach.  Just lying around in the sand soaking up the hot, hot sunshine.  No demands on my time and no worries about getting cold.

What is your favorite daydream?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fried Chicken

My husband's sister was in town today for a visit and she's been craving some fried chicken.  And not just any friend chicken, she has been wanting some Crawford County fried chicken. So me, G, K, the mother-in-law, and the sister-in-law loaded up in grandma's minivan for the drive out to Pittsburg, Kansas.

Finding the right area was easy enough.  About ten miles northeast of town is a place referred to as "chicken diner road".  But the big decision comes when you get there: Chicken Annie's or Chicken Mary's?

The story goes that there were two sisters of German decent who cooked for the miners in the area.  Their specialties were fried chicken and German potato salad.  Then, like most sisters, they got into some sort of argument and parted company.  Mary left the partnership and opened up her own place right next door to Annie's.

Chicken Annie's is the older restaurant of the two, being 70 years old this year.  Chicken Mary's has only been around for 65 years.  They both serve the same foods, though they swear to use different recipes.  We don't really have a preference so we alternate which restaurant receives our custom.  Considering we only go once every few years, it can be difficult to remember which one we went to last!

Can you guess which one we ended up at today?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Star Wars CosPlay

December 18, 2015

That's my target date, the date I have to have my costume ready. The date STAR WARS VII: The Force Awakens will release in the United States.

First, I will need to pick a theme.  Naboo princess?  Bounty Hunter?  Jedi Knight?  The possibilities are endless!

However, no matter how I feel about a particular costume, I need to take into consideration that this outfit will not just be for a brief cosplay appearance, but may need to be worn for well over 24 hours straight.  Do I really want to maintain the make-up necessary for Queen Amidala for that long?

Second, I will need to take into account the season.  December (current release date) in Missouri is way different from May (previous release date) in Missouri.  Perhaps a Hothian outfit would be better than a Tatooinien outfit.

Yet another factor to consider is whether I wish to stay true to the original trilogy, go with the second series/first three chapters, or strike out into new territory with an attempt of a completely new character.  Or maybe go for complete satire and do some morphification of Mickey Mouse and Star Wars.

I will tell you my preference is for either a strong female character such as Aurra Sing or Princess Leia,  a character that gets to carry a light saber, or a Sith Academy character.

So many choices, so little time.  You'll have to check back with me in December to see what I decided on!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

My First Time Teaching Science

Everyone knows how very much I love teaching ancient cultures. But I have not always been so fortunate that I got to teach my favorites.

Many years ago I had occasion to teach a lower-grade science class. The lesson was on the respiratory system, and I had a worksheet to cover, you know, the kind with text and graphics at the top and a few questions underneath the text.  

Everything was going fine until we got to THAT sentence.

"As air enters the body through the nose, it is cleaned by the nose hairs before going down the windpipe into the lungs."  

All of a sudden, instead of a class of little scientists, I seemed to have a class full of curious preschoolers!

And yes, you guessed it, a very LARGE portion of the class' little fingers went immediately into their nostrils to check for said nose hairs.  

"OH MY GOD! I CAN FEEL THEM!"  seemed to be the predominant expressions of those with fingers in their noses.

"NO WAY! HAIR IN THE NOSE? EW!!!"  were the replies of those kiddos not interested in finding out for themselves if the information they had just been presented with was valid or not.

And the lovely little scientists just kept going: "IS IT IN BOTH SIDES?!?" and similar screams of delight!  

I reached my limit when they wanted to start checking EACH OTHER'S noses for nose hairs!! 

I'm DYING, I've got the giggles so bad. It was 10 mins ( and liberal amounts of GREM-X ) before I could get them calmed down enough to continue the lesson. They would still burst into giggles at random intervals for the rest of the day!

I cannot even express to you how very happy I am to be teaching sixth grade social studies!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Dork Dancing in the Driveway

Eli, the eldest male-child, was home from college Monday and Tuesday.  Being in the U.S.Army, that's all the spring break he gets.

Mrs. Orson's wheel class got to see him yesterday.  Eli and Sarah, the soon-to-be daughter-in-law, brought me a Jumbo Cherry Pepsi and a Gringo Burger.  Not that I ate it, being all full of Mrs Smith's birthday brunch, but it'll keep in the 'fridge for later.  The Cherry Pepsi, of coarse, is long gone!

Eli likes to come visit me here at the middle school.  My classroom was his homeroom when he was in sixth grade here.  He had Dr. Zornes for his homeroom and Math. (She was Miss Smith back then!)

We always have fun when Eli comes home.  Yesterday he and I played cards until Caleb got home from play practice.  Its fun to play cards and shoot the breeze.  It's during games like these with just the two of us that I find out what is going on his his life.  When Caleb came in, we switched to a card game called FLUX, which I got from my Secret Pal for Christmas.  Its a geeky, dorky, fast-paced, never-the-same-thing-twice, entirely fun game!  It's the favored game to play when it's just the three of us.

After the FLUX game, Eli decided that Caleb and I needed to learn the new FOOTLOOSE line dance.  We spent time in the family room learning all the steps and slow-practicing.  We had just got to the point we were ready to add in the music when Mr G came home.  He walked right in and proclaimed us to be dorks (well DUH!  Like we hadn't already figured that out on our own!).   At this point we decided to move our show outside, to the driveway.  Eli brought his laptop and set up the music.

We started with the Blake Shelton re-make version of Footloose.  I am not a huge country music fan, but this version wasn't horrible, and the line dancing was fun!  Then we decided to try other songs to do this particular line dance to.  Our best results came from the Dub-Step Tequila.  Lou Begga songs also worked well for this, Mambo #5 being the best.  Some Brian Setzer Orchestra/Stray Cats was close, but made us move just a bit too fast!  We tried some Black Eyed Peas, but again, it moved too fast for line dancing.

For a while, Mr G came out to observe us and found some sport in trying to get us off rhythm and mess us up.  We all got to laughing so hard!  I ended up having to dance with my eyes closed, which enabled me to keep rhythm, but made me lose balance so that I kept stumbling into my children, resulting in more hilarity and laughs!

I know we looked completely weird and dorky out line dancing in our sock feet on the driveway, but oh my, we really had some fun!  I did get my heart rate up for about an hour or more, so I'll count that as a win in the exercise column.  I may've ruined a perfectly good pair of socks, but its a fair trade for the memories we made!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Pizza Day!!!

Tonight is Domino's Pizza night!  We at the Swaim household don't eat a whole lot of pizza. Not because we don't like it, but because we like it too much!  So we save our cravings for the middle school's Domino's Pizza Night.

Usually, we each get a large. No, we don't eat it all at once, but keep quite a bit of it back for pizza snacks later.  KK gets a large cheese, I like bacon and onion, and Mr G gets the one with everything. That we cannot agree on a pizza type is the major reason we each get our own.

Another way we disagree about our pizza is the crusts.  Caleb and I like thin crust and Mr G likes hand tossed.  Who could believe the three people could disagree so much about something that matters so little!

We call in our order and have Caleb go pick it up.  And even if it is just take-out pizza on paper plates, we gather around the dining room table to eat together.  That is actually the best part of pizza night.

But families are like that sometimes.  We may disagree about the details, but we always manage to come together and agree on the major things.

Monday, March 9, 2015

A month of March Birthdays

March is a busy month for birthdays for my family.

My brother's kid, Aaron, has the first birthday.  In fact, I think I may've missed it...oops! I think his birthday is on the 4th.  He's in 7th grade this year, so I'm guessing he's turning 13.  Lucky for me we do the big family March birthday celebration at Easter.

My brother is next with his birthday today! He is turning 41.  He lives in another state, so I wont actually see him until Easter.  I wonder what to get him this year?  He is an accomplished wood smith.  He is also a teacher at a seminary (preacher college) in Africa.

Both of my sons, Eli and Caleb, have their birthday's at the end of the month.  Caleb's birthday is first, on the 24th.  He will be turning 18.  Eli's birthday is the last day of the month, and he will be 21, fully an adult in the eyes of the law.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Love/Hate Relationship

I ran yesterday.

And yes, I bundled up in long, thermal running pants and a long sleeve shirt, because it was just a touch on the cool side for me!  I was nice and comfy, though.

I managed to go 1.2 miles in 16.5 mins.  Not very impressive, but it's better than being a lazy bum sitting around on the couch, which is what I wanted to do.  I did meet my goal, however: run my route without walking.

I went out at around 2:30pm (so it would hopefully be the warmest part of the day). Pony tail? Check.
Run music? Check. Run candy? Nope, gotta go back in and get it.

Let's try this again.  Pony tail? Check. Run music? Check. Run candy? Check. Timing device? Nope, gotta go back in and get it.

Same song, third verse.  Pony tail? Check. Run music? Check. Run candy? Check. Timing device? Check. Post run water bottle? Nope, gotta go back in and get it.

You see how easy it is for me to delay my run.  I have such a difficult time getting started! I have even gone so far as to dust the bedroom furniture instead of getting dressed in my running attire! I really hate running.

Hate it, that is, until about a half mile into my run.  Then I am able to let go my mind and enter into that happy place in my brain that is fueled by the running endorphins.   It is such a calm and meditative place.  My body and mind leave behind all of my day-to-day distractions and I am able to plan and scheme and dream.

I like my stretch time after my run.  I like how my muscles respond to stretching and how my flexibility increases.  I am proud that I can bend over and touch  the ground while keeping my legs straight; many adults cannot do that!

Will probably always have trouble get started on my run.  I will probably always like the results.

~~Le Sigh~~

Saturday, March 7, 2015

A Taste of Coming Summer

Everyone I run into today just keeps going on and on about how warm it is.

Sorry, friends, but while the temperature is absolutely warmer than what it has been recently, it is by no means WARM yet.

I don't mean to complain, really, I don't.  I am without a doubt enjoying todays higher than recent temperatures.  I just LOVE all the sunlight pouring in through through my windows.  I bask in all that healthy vitamin D raining down on us.  It has made it that much easier to get up go about doing my chores today.  The extra energy I have may even allow me to get some outdoor exercise today.

But I will still have to be bundling up when I go out because its not yet warm!

Warm to me means temperatures in the low 80s.  And a day is not warn until it can reach and maintain those temperatures for the majority of the sunlight hours.

In fact, I am not really happy until we break 95.  Yes, it requires a but more preparation, like water source and proper sunscreen, but it is so worth the effort.  When summer comes, you will find me outdoors just as soon as my chores allow for it.  I spend time working in my flower or vegetable garden.  I spend time clearing the underbrush in our woods.  I spend time reading out on the pool-room deck or front porch.  I ride my bicycle to Carterville, Carthage, or Pittsburg.  I run around our neighborhood.  I grab my children and we pedal our way to the creek to spend the day.  I sit in the sky chair or in the hammock, just watching the hawks hunt in our yard.  I nap in the backyard to soak up the rays.

I can't wait for summer to get here.

Friday, March 6, 2015

My Dad

This is my dad.

He was born in the Picher-Cardin area of Oklahoma in 1943, the youngest of four children. He grew up next to the railroad tracks, on the wrong side.  The house he lived in with his mom, brothers and sister, a "shotgun" style shack, was heated with only a pot-bellied stove.  He used to tell stories of being a very small child and running alongside the trains as they rolled slowly through town and begging for coal, which, if they were lucky, the engineers would throw off the train for them to pick up.  For a while, they even lived in a rummaged tent on the banks of Tar Creek.

When he was in the 2nd grade he spent a year in the children's hospital in Tulsa from a combination of a brain surgery and rheumatic fever. As a result of this, his mother was told that her was was "delicate" and would not live past the age of 21.

In spite of a rough start to his life, my father chose to meet life head on with a positive, can-do attitude.  He became a golden gloves boxer.  He loved dancing at the local teen hangout The Mutt Hut in Miami, where his mom eventually settled.  He learned to build houses and eventually became a master carpenter.

He brought that same energy and love of life to being a father and a husband.  He went to every sporting event my brother and I had, every school program, every piano recital.  He made sure we explored our community.  He also made sure to leave my brother and I at grandma's house once in a while so he could spend quality time with just my mom.

He loved to travel, so every summer we would load up the car and take off on some grand adventure.  We explored our state as well as striking our for the big tourists states of Texas, Colorado, and California.  He absolutely loved Disney, even going so far as to take me, my husband, and children to Disney World so he and my mom could experience Disney with his grandchildren.

I don't know just what had my thoughts turning towards my daddy tonight, but it was very nice reliving memories of him with Caleb.  We spend a very pleasant evening eating ice cream (dad's favorite treat!) and laughing together as we shared stories.  Since my dad died 8 years ago, it makes me happy that Caleb has retained such rich, vibrant memories of his grandfather.

Thursday, March 5, 2015


Today we had bacon and eggs for lunch.  "Why not for breakfast," you ask?  Elementary, my dear friends. We at the Swaim household took full advantage of our day off and slept in! By the time we got up and around, it was too late for breakfast.

Naturally, there was some discussion as to what would be on our lunch menu for today, as well as when said lunch should occur. We negotiated it down to breakfast foods after homework. Youngest male-child put forth the argument that if he had to do homework on a day off from school, he deserved bacon. Always in the mood for bacon myself, I agreed.

After homework, we readied the kitchen for our cooking efforts: skillet, fork, wooden spoon, tongs, bowl, plates, bacon and eggs. Everything at the ready, we began.

First we cut the bacon strips in half and fried them up in the skillet. Oh how we love to listen to that sizzle! Then we broke the eggs into a bowl, mixed them up, them poured them into the hot bacon grease to cook. Caleb likes his eggs salted during the cooking process, so he added the salt as I scrambled.

We ate lunch on t.v. trays as we watched cartoons together.  I am loving the time off I am getting to spend with my son!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Unexpected Day Off with Caleb

WOOHOO! An unexpected day off from school!

It is not often that I have a day to just kick back and do things I want to do with no schedule.  As an adult, I still have responsibilities to attend to (feeding my children, doing laundry, etc), but the biggest part of the day today was mine to do with what I wanted.  It seems that what I wanted was to sit back and let Caleb take the reins.

Right now, it is just Caleb and myself at home; Mr. G has traveled to Geneva, Ohio to see Eli in his last collegiate dive meet.  First order of business was getting out of our school clothes and into fuzzy socks, sweatpants and tee-shirts.  I LOVE fuzzy socks!  We like to sock skate in our kitchen when we have free time in fuzzy socks.  We run down the hallway and hit the floor with speed and fly across the kitchen.  FUN!!!  Believe it or not, we managed to amuse ourselves with this activity for quite some time.

Next, we made some mid-morning popcorn and bundled ourselves up on the family room couch under our favorite blankets and settled in for a movie.  Caleb selected Total Recall, the original version with Arnold Schwartzenegger.  He had recently seen the remake and wanted to do be able to compare the two versions.

After our movie it was nap time.  We just settled further down under our blankets and went to sleep.  I did make sure to set an alarm so that we would not sleep away the afternoon. How very nice it was to be able to relax with no schedule to keep!

The alarm woke us up so we (reluctantly) got up and took care of our chores (my choice, not Caleb's). We did some laundry, got the trash ready to go out tonight, emptied and refilled the dishwasher (a never-ending cycle!), and just generally picked up around the house.  Then we sat together at the table to do school work.  Caleb did homework while I graded yesterday's vocab packets.

Then, for a bit of fun, we had chocolate chip cookie pie.  Two big, pizza-shaped cookie slices with generous globs of frosting between and rainbow colored frosting decorating the top for our afternoon snack.  We each had our own! So very, very bad for us, yet so very, very good.  Sadly, they were just so full of sugary goodness that neither one of us was able to finish!

The early evening movie choice was Lilo and Stitch, again, Caleb's choice. Its been quite some time since I have seen that one and I enjoyed it very much! We felt so good after that movie that we put on some music and had a round of Veggie Tale dancing.

A quick break for dinner; Caleb is in charge so I get chicken patties, tator tots, and corn - man food all the way!  Also, I am taking time for blogging, then we'll finish off our night with a final movie. Very fitting for our final movie of the day, Caleb went with Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Just as soon as I am done here, we'll start the movie.

I am so very grateful for this day that I got to hang out with Caleb.  Very soon he will be off to college and I won't have him around to have fun with on snow days.  I leave you with a Ferris Bueller quote for my final thought:

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Blogging Poem

"Blogging is great!
It's never too late!"
I'll even help you get started!"
These are the words that I heard
and so I was stirred
and started my blog, somewhat guarded.

So I sit here tonight,
no inspiration to write, 
and my attention full focused on nothing.
Wasting time on the 'net,
accruing sleep debt,
I'm afraid you can tell I am bluffing!

LOL! Just some fun poetry tonight.  I really did go and ask how to get involved with the Slice of Life project without any coercion. I am the one who wanted to do it. But I must confess, that with the anticipation of inclement weather and TRANSFORMERS 3 playing on TV, I just have no motivation to write anything meaningful!

For me, anyway, one of my goals for participating in the Slice of Life, was to get myself back into the habit of daily writing. Daily writing, especially when it does not come easy, is a good exercise that promotes better writing. 

I am going to try to let go of my preconceived notions that everything I post on here must be finished, polished, and meaningful, A+ material. I am giving myself permission to let go and just write for the joy of writing. Writing everyday is something I want to do for me. 

Writing everyday is something I am going to do for me.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Friendship and Kindness

Today I'd like to talk about friendship and kindness, two blessings I have been reminded that I have and have received recently in abundance.

Thoughts on Friendship
This weekend, as I sat reflecting on the life and passing of a favorite role model (translation: trolled the internet for any and everything I could read on the man), I began to hear from old friends who were also experiencing the same sadness as me. It was really comforting to hear from people who "got it", and who I could talk to in the same same language ( geek-speak ). Memes were created, pictures shared, stories of "remember when..." got passed around with glee, and virtual glasses were raised in rememberence all around. The amazing thing about these friends? Some of them I have not physically laid eyes on in 30 years! The separation of time and distance has done nothing to dull friendships formed in primary school. Knowing we can pick up and carry on with each other as if there has been no separation makes me happy beyond measure.

Thoughts on Kindness
Today I had a great many students take the time to either come see me personally or comment on my blog post and express their condolences to me for the loss of a beloved role model in my life. I am completely blown away with the ability of my students to be so very empathetic.  Not only does kindness surely live in their hearts, but courage as well for them to make the bold attempt to offer comfort to an adult. When I look back on this day from some distant point in the future, I may not remember the exact word offered, but I will remember the kindness, and my heart will be happy.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

S'ti th'laktra

I had wanted to start this project with a few words about how I am both excited and nervous to participate in Slice of Life. Instead, I find myself with a heavy heart and the need to emote. I am reluctant to start my month of Slice of Life with sadness, but sadness is my predominant emotion right now, so I guess I'll just have to go with it.  

Why am I so sad? One of the people I most admire passed away on Friday. I did not personally know this person, and yet he had a profound impact on my life. He is considered the greatest influence on both children and adults of my generation in the area of science, and he wasn't even a scientist; he was an actor. He inspired curiosity and wonder, making me think in new directions. He made me want to learn more and accomplish more in school. He was one of the main reasons I elected to leave the comfort of my home school to try for a position in my school district's magnet school program.

Like most young people, when I first became aware of a television character I could identify with, I also set out to find out as much as possible about the actor who brought this character to life.
What I found was that he was more than an accomplished actor; he was an Army Veteran, a social activist, a film director, a poet, a musician, a singer, a photographer. I found he was a person I could look up to and respect. 

So in closing for today, I leave you with a quote from the man himself:

"Every life comes to an end when time demands it. Loss of life is to be mourned, but only if the life was wasted."

Rom-halen, Leonard Nimoy. Vu Dvin dor etwal.