Monday, August 31, 2009

I am the champion of the world... the game Honeybee Tree.

With great precision and intent I soundly beat all opponents today. In every single game.

Don't let this colorful exterior fool you.

OK, technically you might think this is just a simple little toddler game but really it requires much intelligent planning and strategizing. You have to remove each little bright green leaf stick calmly and surely or the little plastic bees just fall out like crazy.

And it also helps that I beat my 80 year old father and my three year old-Granddaughter...

Oh, yea, and I beat my husband who was trying to hurry the game he played with us along to get back to work... but still, he is awfully smart AND I trounced him, too.


I remain undefeated...

I am the champion of the world.

Perhaps I need to get out just a teensy bit more.


Friday, August 28, 2009

It's all about the goal setting...

OK, this year I had a few goals I wanted to accomplish. Nothing major. Writing my Dad's biography was the biggest. But there were several small goals.

The first I've been fiddling with but I just wasn't devoting enough time to learning. After seeing Julie and Julia I spent a few days and I got it! I did! I can do it now and one of my life goals is crossed off my list.

You might think I'm kidding but I have always, always wanted to flip food in a pan. I've tried it many a time and made a huge mess on the burner.

So for the past two weeks I've been practicing over the kitchen sink. And, by jove, I've got it.


I know. You're impressed, aren't you?

Here's a picture which is not of me, or my pan, or my eggs, or my stove or even my kitchen but I can do it JUST AS GOOD AS THIS!

Pretty amazing, isn't it?

I started on my next little goal today but that didn't go so well.

OK, it's pretty high-reaching ...

... and probably something almost every woman over 12 in the world can do already...

OK, I'm going to come right out and say it, I cannot put on eyeliner.

Yes, you heard me right. I've tried and tried but I just can't do it.

Then I read this article in a magazine on these new eyeliner markers and I ran to Target and bought one. I was hoping it would work better then the sharpies I've tried several times in the past. (I'm ashamed to say that this is actually true and I highly recommend you DO NOT TRY IT...EVER!)

So I started practicing today and I thought it turned out pretty well. So I went into my husbands office and said in a sexy voice, "honey, do you notice anything different about me?"

I could see the panic on his face as he struggled mightily for the right answer. Hey, we've been married for almost 10 years so he knows when he is standing right at the edge of a big ol' field of quicksand.

I gave him a hint. "It's around my eyes," I said in a Cleopatra type voice.

When he said "oh no, does that hurt?" I realized I might have a ways to go before I master this next life goal.

But I will accomplish it AND I found a perfect picture to use as my guide.

OK, just kiddin' about the guide. I know this is waaaaayyy too conservative for a middle aged, frumpy Grandma!

But it's a start.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

If you want to look like you're 30 when you're 40 you have to start at 20

Huh? I have heard this saying more then once at the Clinical Laser and Aesthetics training school I've been guinea pigging at once a week or so.

Sounds scary, doesn't it?

I bought this membership thing and can get unlimited facials, peels, microderms, laser techniques such as RF and spider vein removal.

I love it. My skin has come a huge way in reducing years and years of sun damage (yup, my sister and I were the ones that laid out for 6 hours at a time with the crisco...) and stress and illness damage.

PLUS they do all kinds of things to remove spider veins, age spots, cherry angiomas and other skin weirdnesses.

At first I felt super guilty doing this. I somehow got stuck in the mentality that if I was doing kind and good things for me that someone else must be overlooked. That all my time, energy and money had to go for kids or grandkids or starving people in India.

But now I don't. Taking care of me makes me feel better. Makes me feel worthwhile and valuable.

And I know that is a pretty deep statement.

Don't get me wrong. I have generally almost always liked myself and never felt like I should be wearing a paper bag. And I'm not a big proponent of elective surgeries from and cost and surgical risk standpoint.

But this stuff is cool. And it takes 2 or 3 hours a week including driving time.

And my husband swears my skin looks 15 years younger...but he could be lying and that's not the most important thing anyway.

The most important thing is that I think my skin looks 10 years younger! Hey, I'm not waxing quite as rhapsodically as my sweet husband. But I do see a difference and that makes me feel better.

Today I had this thing done called RF that tightens collagen. They did half my face and then showed me in a mirror. It was definitely a difference. And it didn't hurt. And I think the turkey neck thing improved for sure!

But the part that confuses me is this...

Now since I'm 54 and just finally starting to take care of my skin more then soap and water and an occassional slathering of make-up what does that mean?

If I want to look like I'm 54 when I'm 64 I should have started 10 years ago? Or, hmmm... I guess it would be if I want to look like I'm 64 when I'm 74 I have to start this very moment?

And I did.

And I'm tellin' ya. I'm gonna be a darned young looking 74 year old!

So there!


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Look, look, look!

One of my friends is starting a cool on-line garage sale site. She has all kinds of nifty stuff. Don't forget to click on older posts so you can see stuff from the time before.

If you're interested in anything just e-mail her or comment and she'll get right back to you.

I got two things already !

Woo hoo!

I would definitely sign up to follow her site so you can get notice as soon as she posts a new page of cool stuff!

I lied

I'm back. See previous blog about it being a good day. It was. It really, really was for the 34 minutes I was awake. So I got my walkman and my little walking sticks and headed jauntily using my its-gonna-be-a-good-day stride to go for a walk.

And then I saw my neighbor walking.

It's probably just me but I have to ask anyway. Do people with 47 1/2" inseams make you crazy? I mean, they have that long-legged stride that us stubby legged people just cannot accomplish. No matter what.

When they jog they look like gazelles floating liquidly across the top of a, ummm.... the top of a ... well, you know. I just drew a blank. But you get the idea.

There I am with my 19 3/4" inseam stubby, ridiculous legs trying to float liquidly and all I do is plod.

I know you think I'm just feeling sorry for myself.

And actually, I am.

Do you realize if I had 47 1/2" inseams I would be over two feet taller! It's true! Then I would be the perfect weight for the height charts. It's true!

Then I wouldn't have to be walking in the first place cuz I could just sit at home admiring my long-legged perfect-weightedness (probably not a word but you get the point).

So technically it hasn't started out to be a really, really great day.

But I'm going to look on the bright side.

Ummm.... bright side, bright side! Oh yea. She probably can't buy capris on sale and wear them as pants! Ummm.... bright side, bright side .... ummm...

Well, ok that's the only bright side I can find.

And now I am off to have a stubby-legged mediocre day!


It's gonna be a good day...

The sniffles are gone, the cough is thinking about leaving, our little Mo is coming around 8 am and I've already dispatched my e-mail file.

I'm heading outside in about five minutes to go for a walk!

Yup, it's gonna be a good day. Hope yours is, too!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

“The sunset caught me, turned the brush to copper,

set the clouds to one great roof of flame above the earth.” Elizabeth Coatsworth

We drove this evening on empty roads through rolling hillsides, freshened by monsoon rains. The desert sparkled a bit with rain, the Eastern horizon grew dark and velvetty and oh, the Western sky.

The clouds glowed with colors and the sky changed and shifted with the breezes so that each moment seemed more amazing then the last.

We drove like that for awhile and then passed through Florence.

I wonder if the prisoners can see out of their cells? I wonder if they can still be moved by the grandeur of so much beauty? I wonder if the sunset inspires them like it does me to make my life count...moment by moment by moment?

I'm not sure why I thought about that so much but I did. It made me both sad and hopeful.

And it made me wonder if everyone stops for a moment to rejoice in a sky such as this.

As we did.

In the creosote-scented fresh desert air driving home from Tucson.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Killing chicken update

...OK, it wasn't that disgusting. It was a little disgusting and moderately graphic but nothing like ummm.... ummm.... (oh, I've got it!) the placenta after childbirth. Ewwwwww. Now that is disgusting.


Oh, I'm sorry. You were trying to eat a raspberry muffin?

Really, really sorry.

Continuing on ... we talked about chickens and how bologna sandwiches were a treat and about thrashing and planting corn and harvesting oats and it was interesting.

It just amazes me to see the years fall away from my Dad's face as he talks. He is in that moment and that time reliving the feel of the tractor wheel beneath his hand, smelling the crisp autumn air, hearing corn being harvested by hand ping, ping, ping against the bang board as it was thrown into the wagons.

I am on a journey of discovery and I hope I can translate the spell-weaving stories I hear onto paper to share with our family and to preserve a part of my Dad after he's gone.

And now...I'm off.

I was going to eat something but I'll keep thinking about the whole placenta thing and maybe that will help my diet along.



Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rats! Almost escaped chicken butchering

So.... this was the week my Dad and I were going to talk about thrashing and the stuff his Mom did to prepare for the thrashing crews as part of my ongoing life-interview with him.

He is turning 80 in February and this has been one of my planned goals for the finish the part of his life up to when he got married to my Mom, put it into book form with photos, etc. and it's moving along pretty well.

Only last night he called and was all excited and said to to make a note because he just remembered a whole bunch of stuff about butchering chickens.


I had hoped to escape that part of this interview (thinking he might forget about it later) by pleading cold germs that might make him sick.

I called him this morning and said although I was feeling better I didn't want to make him sick.

He said "it's not like I'm going to kiss you...come over and we'll talk about the chickens!"

Uh oh.

I hope he doesn't have pictures. Or worse yet, souveniers.

Uh oh.

OK, I'm going. I'll let you know what happens later.

Uh oh.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Deep thoughts...

...oh I want to have some this morning. I want to share something deep and beautiful that makes you ponder...

...but I have a sore throat...

...and I'm tired...

...and I have a headache...

...and I'm whiny... this is the best I can do this morning...

I like cream of wheat.


Friday, August 14, 2009

So you think you can walk...

...or do you not walk because you have bad knee or a bad hip or a bad back?

I thought this, too. Bad hip. Bad knee. Not bad back.

So I got these nordic walking sticks and I can walk. Not only can I walk but I can walk without pain AND I have never experienced such a work-out.

My daughter-in-law, who is a twig and in tip-top shape, tried them out awhile back and after a few minutes was breathing really heavy with exertion. They are quite a workout.

And, on top of that, for some weird reason they are actually fun to walk with.

Steve didn't believe me so I bought him some (you buy them by height so he can't use my stubby ones). He is now a believer, too!

Here's a picture of me after using them.

OK! I'm lying. But it could be. And it might be. And it will be.

I need to get a wig, go to one of those fountain-of-youth stores, get a tummy tuck, breast reduction, face-lift and some new clothes (well, in addition to loosing 173 pounds) but it could be.


You'll notice it right away the next time we hang out. You'll see it all very clearly especially if you have been blindfolded really, really well.

OK, off to walk.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

It rained last night!!!!

Did you hear the hoorahs of cheering out in whatever part of the country you live in?

We've been monsoon-less so far this summer and everything is dry and gritty and dirty and well, ummm.... hot!

But we got a deluge last night along with the violent thunder and lightening that accompanies monsoon rains and everything smells fresh and wonderful and everything is now less dry, less gritty and LESS HOT!

So I'm going for a walk!

And hoping this black, black sky means we're getting more rain soon.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Music and clouds

...for awhile in my life I had to quit listening to music and looking at the sky.

Music made my heart feel like crying and the clouds brought back too many memories of painful times spent trying to look up and see the bright side.

That sounds crazy, doesn't it?

But things felt really black in my life and I couldn't seem to find a way out of it no matter how many Mary Engelbreit calendar pages I read. No matter how many sayings I told myself about rainbows and dancing in the rain. So I had to put the music away and I had to quit looking at the sky.

But time does seem to heal all wounds - or at least make them scab over enough that you can finally touch them and only wince a little bit when you do.

...and this morning as I was walking and listening to my i-pod and watching the gray and white popcorn clouds dance across the mornings apricot sky I realized how tough we all are.

Oh, we think we aren't and we think that cannot possibly survive another blow and that one more tiny pain filled straw will be the last one we can bear...

...but it isn't true.

We are all tougher then we think, I think.

And I don't believe we always have to be tough and put on a brave face and look on the bright side.

Sometimes it must be OK to cut ourselves some slack and allow ourselves time to just feel bad and sad and mad...and to not look at the bright side.

I know that happy is a pro-active choice but I also know that grief and sorrow is something that is OK to feel. We shouldn't beat ourselves up when we just can't spout platitudes with any self-honesty.

Maybe, just maybe, we should be as kind and as gentle to ourselves as we would be to a friend who is in a sad place in their lives. We nurture them. We are kind and gentle and loving and thoughtful to them.

No more then we should be to ourselves.

As we should.

Because we are also the people that deserve kind, gentle, loving and thoughtful.

And we also deserve to have beautiful morning clouds accompanied by rock'n roll on our i-pods!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Oh yea, I'm cool...

So... being the cutting edge technology chick that I am!!!! I got this amazing thing called an i-pod this past April. Wow, it's neat. Don't feel bad you've never heard of'll get around to the uneducated masses ones of these days (...sigh...) and then you, too, can be all cool, too.

And since I'm springing ahead of everyone so quickly in my cutting edge technology moments I have another, new, favorite thing!

It's a lanyard!

Once in a very great while I see someone else using an amazing, brand-new i-pod technology thing-y but they have all kinds of wires hanging all around with their i-pod stuffed into their pocket.

Well, lookie, lookie what I found!!!!

Isn't this cool? No pockets required. No hanging wires at all!

And if this isn't enough technology I heard a rumor they are coming out with a new kind of movie player that isn't one of those rectangular boxes with tape inside. It's something called a DVD and looks like a tiny, shiny 78 know, the kind we play our music on now!

Neat-o! Right?


Hey, why are you looking at me that way?

Oh, I get it, you are envious that I have leaped into the 20th century waaayyy ahead of you.

21st century?

What are you talking about?

.... sigh...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Three first days of school

This first picture is from 1986. Greg's first day of kindergarten. And now his girls are heading off to do the same. Seems like this one was just yesterday.

And here are our beautiful Granddaughters heading off to second grade and kindergarten. Morgan is here and playing with Fisher Price and it just feels weird.

Reading and writing and "rithmetic,
Kids change so fast, time goes quick, quick, quick!
Stop for a moment to cherish each day
Because before you know it they're off and away ...

How is it possible...

....that these two little Reds are starting Kindergarten and 2nd Grade today?!? How is it even remotely possible that I blinked and they grew into a five year old and a seven year old? Didn't I just put my own kids in Kindergarten and Second grade a few years ago?

OK, that's it. I am putting my foot down. No more growing. No more getting older. They are too sweet just the way they are.

That's just it! They are going to have to stay 3, 5 and 7 for at least another 10 years. I'm just not willing to let them grow up yet.

Hey, why didn't I think of putting my foot down years ago?

I'm so happy I thought of this now, though, so that they will just stay this age until I'm emotionally ready to let them be a year old.

Schewwwww. OK, I feel a LOT better now.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Julie and Julia

Cute, cute movie. Go watch it. Eat popcorn. Get hungry. Put your house up for sale to go to cordon bleu cooking school.

Or not.

But see the movie.

It's cute.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

It's hormones are totally ... ummm.... hormonal

...this morning my husband and I went to our local Fry's grocery store which is closing today. We thought to pick up some good bargains, which we did. I also picked up some surprisingly teary emotions.

For me. Just me. Steve didn't cry. He did pause a moment and look sad so I think that kinda sorta counts.

We've shopped at this Fry's for 9 years now. It's close. It's convenient. It's "our Fry's"

Sure it is old (but clean) and definitely not all dolled up like other new grocery stores. But we like it. We know it. Did I's our "Fry's"?

One of the checkers who I have talked to for years cried a month ago when she told me they were closing.

I actually cried today. Not a lot. I didn't break down on the sidewalk and start wailing and reaching dramatically to the never-to-be-Fry's doors but my eyes were teary when I walked out.

Then when we got into the Jeepster I had a whole teary breakdown.... granddaughters growing up and going to school, I miss the kids living with us, my parents are going to die soon, remember how said it was when we had to put our weiner dogs Emma and Cujo down?

Poor Steve.

In his valiant efforts to provide comfort to an out-of-control emotional wife he just kept patting my leg...afraid to say anything in the event he would make it worse, afraid to say anything in the event it would be the wrong thing.

...and now I'm just mopey. Mopey and sad and emotional and ready to cry at everything.

But it's not really me. I would never, ever, ever be emotional like this.

It's definitely my hormones. I'm sure of it.

It is, isn't it?

Normal people don't cry over their grocery store closing do they?

Yea. Definitely hormonal.

Sniff. Sigh.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Watch out Hallmark!

I went to the first card-making club class last night. It will be the first Thursday of each month. It was a crazy busy day and I kept wanting to not go but my friend, Cyndie, was picking me up so I went AND it was fun and we got home a little after 9 so it wasn't a late night and look what we made!

Getting ready to start my day school shopping with Miss Julia. Riley went last week. I'd forgotten how much patience and energy it takes to shop for clothes with little kids!

And while we're out I'm gonna drive by the Hallmark store, honk and give them an evil, warning laugh!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Good morning!

It's Thursday! Do you know where your cooler temperatures are? We sure don't. It's getting old. And official. We are hot. And cranky.

OK, enough whining!

Was I really just here (in Greer) 10 days ago sitting outside shivering with Lindsey? Accck!

Last night was ceramics and I can't wait to show you what I'm painting now. It is so cute. Tonight I am taking a card-making class which should be interesting.

And now I am heading out to brave the weather and wash my disgusting car.

But in the meantime...please face Arizona, open your refrigerators and fan as much cold air as possible this way.

I'd appreciate that.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I might turning into a scrapbooking-holic...

Is that a word? Perhaps not. But I think I might be possibly turning into something vaguely like one.

In my defense I must say it is ridiculously hot outside and I am simply nesting to avoid hard-boiling my brain in the heat...

And also, I must say that since I'm getting older it sure isn't getting any easier to remember about pictures... (even though I was certain I would never, ever, ever forget every single detail about each event)

And also, I must say that, well...I just like doing it.

So...yes, my name is Jenny...and I am a scrapbooking-holic.


These are all the piles I am working on - my books, each of the girls books AND a wedding preparation book for Jessie and Kevin

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Finally over the mountain!

OK, you might be getting tired of these pictures so we'll finish the 4-peaks trip right now! Our next trip will be somewhere cooler so get your sweaters ready! ... And we are at the top - ta da!

Our three hour journey is done. We are back into civilization (kind of) Dad is so happy to have cell site back! He loves his cell phone! We are all happy to see Punkin Center - a tiny, not-even-town town and find a bathroom AND a place to get lunch. Yummmm..... patty melts.

And we drop off Dad with his "souvenier" of the day and continue on home.

Thanks for coming along. I'm really, really glad you didn't get car sick.