Friday, February 29, 2008

Five Minute Friday: Reasons I'm Glad to Be Home

I nearly missed the fact that today is days are all screwed up since returning and being sick. But it is Friday, and I've remembered, thus I'm going to do a 5MF about why I'm glad to be home, despite it being really tempting to have just stayed in Florida a day or two longer, enjoying the sunshine.

1. It would have sucked to have gotten sick away from home, even if we were at my mom's.
2. My own bed always feels so good after being gone.
3. Was missing the hubby.
4. Would have missed this awesome snowstorm today (or would have been driving in it--ick!).
5. Am enjoying time with my new Marine and his family.
6. Love being able to kick back in my jammies as long as I want.
7. Can do what I want without having to check plans with 8 - 12 other people.
8. No matter how messy it may be, I love being home.
9. Am enjoying the surprise furry, four-legged guest who is now staying with us.
10. Once again being able to cuddle with the hubby at night (which was hard to do sleeping in separate beds as we ended up having to do most of the trip).
11. Have downloaded all of my 200-ish pictures from the trip onto the computer so I can remember everything that seemed to go by so quickly.
12. Can check e-mail, Facebook, Ravelry, etc. as often as I like without getting dirty looks from my mom.
13. Making myself peppermint tea when I start to feel icky.
14. Have I mentioned I just love to be home?


...just long enough to say I have indeed returned from my trip -- it was awesome and I have much to say about it once I can put my mind to organizing my thoughts coherently.

Arrived home Tuesday evening with one child who'd been throwing up for the last 200 miles of the trip (yeah, fun ride home, over the mountains, no less...poor kid). I woke up the next day with nasty flu-like symptoms (thankfully NOT of the stomach variety). Have been watching TV and sleeping a lot since then, and trying to unpack and do laundry when bursts of energy allow. Am finally feeling mostly human today, thus I ventured out into the winter wonderland that has engulfed our region and finally got groceries so the family doesn't have to continue to subsist on Nutri-grain bars, oatmeal and corn dogs.

More soon...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Insanity rules...

...seriously...I'm feeling a little on the edge right now. Zach's boot camp graduation is this week. I have one more day to get everything accomplished before we leave, including digging out warm-weather clothes so I can pack for the post-grad/FL part of the trip. I have a mad, mad list of crazy little to-do items all flying around my brain, much like those bewitched keys flew around Harry in The Chamber of Secrets. I need to try and capture them in a neat (long!) list so I hopefully won't forget anything.

That said, I'm behind on a lot...I've got pictures to post on Inspired 365 (+1) but may not get to them until after I'm home. I probably have e-mail to reply to that, again, might have to wait until I get back. If you are waiting to hear from me about something and it cannot wait, please e-mail me and put lots of exclamation points in the subject line and I'll try to respond either before I go or while I'm away (I hope to check e-mail at some point while I'm gone).

It's going to be a whirlwind trip with so much going on, and it's going to be a crazy travel trip, as there are many people going but in separate groups which are all going at different times by different means and taking different routes there and back and...ahhh! It's feeling confusing. I'm trying to filter out those things that I really do not need to keep track of so I can quit feeling unnecessarily stressed out.

Most importantly, I'm going to see my son for the first time in four months. He is officially a Marine now, having successfully completed The Crucible on Saturday. Everyone is going to be vying for his attention while we're away, and while "Mom" should come near the top of the list, I know even I will get trumped by his wife and son, which is as it should be. Honestly, I will be happy to just be in close proximity to him after all this time, to listen to his stories and to see his face.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Finally, we have snow! About 4" today. Supposed to turn to freezing rain at some point, so I'm not optimistic that it will be around for long, but it was nice to have an excuse to not leave the house today. :)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Five Minute Friday: I Wouldn't Mind if...

After managing to miss my FMF list last week (not even sure why), I'm resuming it this week. It's a gray, snowy day today...perfect day for a little bit of wishful thinking. Thus, today's FMF list idea is one I'm borrowing from a recent post on Mennogirl's blog.

I wouldn't mind if...

...we got snowed in for a few days.
...the bummer bit of news I got yesterday would suddenly change.
...every day was a good school day.
...magic elves would come in and clean my house for me.
...I woke up and found myself weighing what I did 15 years ago.
...I finally felt caught up with everything I have to do. husband and I never argued.
...I never had to deal with financial stuff again.
...I could spend time with my friends as much as I'd like to.
...our cat was better mannered so he could be inside and curl up and keep me company.
...the sun shone more often during the winter in the 'burgh. wasn't as expensive as it is.
...people quit being judgmental.
...if the federal government was downsized.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


...I started the day with coffee and deep-fried sugar and white flour -- the latter so not my typical breakfast of choice, but it was Fat Tuesday, so it is tradition here in our house...enough so that my daughter remembered and has been reminding me for a week, "Don't forget the donuts!"

...I received some yarn yumminess in the mail from The Loopy Ewe. It was my first order from them. It will probably not be my last. I got some Duet in Enchanted Forest...

...and some Numma Numma Blackberry Jam (I'd buy this sock yarn just based on the awesomeness of the company name! Numma could you resist?)...

...I got my hair cut and son took the picture with my camera on manual, thus the blur...same color I've been getting and loving...the cut is a little different this time...shorter in the back, a little edgier (not that you can tell so much from this picture)...I cannot believe how much I've been loving my hair in the past six months or's unprecedented...

...finished a pair of socks for Emma...

...worked on my February homeless hat...a little freestyle Fair Isle action...

...took the kids to archery tonight...

...and now here I am. Going to go make some ham salad for Kevin's lunch tomorrow, and perhaps even some homemade granola, if I feel overly ambitious. And I'm going to watch some of my DVRed Mythbusters episodes. And I'm going to knit.

What a good day it's been.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Perfect day...

...or nearly perfect, but I'll take it.

We were heathens today and skipped church. Kevin headed out to do his thang after breakfast, leaving the kids and I to enjoy our leisurely Sunday however we pleased. Waking up to bright sunlight at this time of year is always a bonus, because there are some years where the sun barely shines between November and March in the 'burgh.

Today was unseasonably warm -- if we can't have real winter with actual snow, I'll gladly take 40 degree temps and sunshine. I lingered in bed, bathed in sunlight, first reading, then spending some time journaling, which I haven't done since last fall, hard as that is to believe. I also spent some time re-reading my journal from early 2007...I love going back and reading what was going on in my life a year earlier. It's amazing how much surprises me and how much I forget about until I reread it.

Being the gorgeous day that it was, the kids and I took a walk, our first of 2008. Technically, I walked and they rode their bikes.

The sky was an absolutely beautiful blue...

As I was walking, I noticed how much litter was strewn along the road. This drives me crazy. Sometimes I have the foresight to bring a bag with me and pick it up as I go. I hadn't thought ahead today, but as we were on our way back up the road, there on the ground, under some remaining snow and ice, was a plastic bag! I figured that was the universe's way of telling me to go back and pick up the trash, so I did.

Most of it was the usual -- beer cans, plastic bottles and paper cups. We had a pretty significant wind storm last week, which blew a lot of garbage cans and recycling bins over and spread the contents far and wide. I figure that was how the liquid soap bottle and some other things ended up along the road (not many people go on hand-washing binges in the car and then toss the empties out the window, you know?).

Along with two empty Marlboro Light packs, I also found... empty nicotine gum packet. Wonder if they came from the same person?

Sometimes, when I pick up my bagfuls of litter, I'm tempted to be cynical and wonder just how much difference does this really make to the planet? Sure, it makes things look nicer, but does it really have an impact on the earth's health? I know the answer is "yes," and that, say, over the course of a year, all those bags add up. But I can understand why some people don't bother to make the's hard to see the benefit in what seems like such a small bit of a huge spitting into the ocean.

On the way back home, I ran into a neighbor coming the other way. I love when the weather gets warm, even just for a day, and people get out and you get to talk to them after having stayed inside all winter. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and connected.

I took advantage of the day and filled the bird feeders again, too. It didn't take long before some of the birds came to check them out...tons of black-capped chickadees...

...and one tufted titmouse that flitted around insanely fast, making it very hard to get a good picture of her. Or him. Not sure on the gender.

And as if a lovely afternoon was not enough, I stepped outside tonight, after my family was in bed, to find the most perfect sky for stargazing. It was dark and clear, and the stars were shining brightly. I took my star charts out and gazed. For an hour. It was freakin' cold, but I didn't care. I was able to clearly identify about six new constellations that I'd not located before, and learned the names of several key stars, and I figured out where Saturn is, too! How cool is that?! (I get so excited about these things.) I just stood out there, turning in a circle, my eyes glued to the sky, reciting to myself the names I was trying to learn...Wezen, Adhara, Aludra...Procyon, Castor, Pollux...Lepus and Arneb...Perseus and Mirphak...Auriga and Capella and Alnath. I love these names...they're like another language and I love speaking them...I love how they feel as my mouth forms the words and annunciates their names.

So, that was my perfect, heathen Sunday. And yet, in so many ways, I worshiped God more meaningfully today than I do most Sundays that I do go to church.

In closing, let me just add this public service message while I'm thinking about it:

Dear Drivers Who Feel the Need to Drink:

Not to pick nits, but if you're going to drink and drive and then rid yourself of the evidence by tossing your empties out the car window, would you please at least be considerate enough and either a) drink canned beer or b) toss your glass bottles into grassy areas, not on the rocks? Those of us who care really do not like picking up broken bits of glass, risking cuts and god-knows-what kinds of germs infiltrating our flesh.

Also, drinking and driving? So not a good idea. Just ask my son. And if you're underage? All risks of injury to yourself or others aside, the legal ramifications of getting caught? So, so not worth the ensuing hassles and costs. Really. Just ask my son. Be responsible, find a friend's house to hole up in, drink your six pack and then order pizza, make prank calls, watch porn, whatever...just don't drive, ok?


Ms. Inspired

P.S. No...I didn't watch the Super Bowl tonight, but thanks to the alert from my friend Amy, I did tune in to the half-time show. Tom Petty, baby! Dude's gettin' old, but he still rocks. Not hitting as many high notes as he one did, but he pulled them off in Free Falling. Kewl. :)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Feast of St. Brigid

Ever since all of my pre-vacation reading I did for my Ireland trip a few years back, I've had a growing fascination with St. Brigid (pronounced bree-git with a hard "g", and meaning "fiery arrow"). February 1 is traditionally the Feast of St. Brigid, which I did not know until today, so clearly my family and I missed out on any big Feast of St. Brigid celebrations we might have undertaken had I been more up on my saint days and thus better able to plan. (There are tons of Brigid bios online, all slightly different in story it seems, but this one is pretty good, if you're interested.)

However, reading the Yarn Harlot today, I saw that she was taking part in the third annual Silent Poetry Reading, which was happening today in honor of St. Brigid. Those in the blogosphere taking part did so by posting a favorite poem on their blogs. So, in the spirit of "better late than never" and with a half hour left in the Feast of St. Brigid Day, I'm going to share a poem I loved from the first time I read it...enjoy!

Heaven on Earth
by Kristin Berkey-Abbot, from Whistling Past the Graveyard, 2004

I saw Jesus at the bowling alley,
slinging nothing but gutter balls.
He said, "You've gotta love a hobby
that allows ugly shoes."
He lit a cigarette and bought me a beer.
So I invited him to dinner.

I knew the Lord couldn't see my house
in its current condition, so I gave it an out
of season spring cleaning. What to serve
for dinner? Fish -- the logical
choice, but after 2000 years, he must grow weary
of everyone's favorite seafood dishes.
I thought of my Granny's ham with Coca Cola
glaze, but you can't serve that to a Jewish
boy. Likewise pizza -- all my favorite
toppings involve pork.

In the end, I made us an all-dessert buffet.
We played Scrabble and Uno and Yahtzee
and listened to Bill Monroe.
Jesus apparently has a healthy appetite for sweets,
I'm happy to report. He told strange
stories which I've puzzled over for days now.

We've got an appointment for golf on Wednesday.
Ordinarily I don't play, and certainly not in this humidity.
But the Lord says he knows a grand miniature
golf course with fiberglass mermaids and working windmills
and the best homemade ice cream you ever tasted.
Sounds like Heaven to me.

Total Eclipse of the Moon...

Looking for something to liven up your February nights? Well, guess what? Yes! A total eclipse of the moon will be coming to a sky near you the evenings of February 20 and 21! Conditions cooperating, we in the northern hemisphere should have a great view of it. Here in the eastern time zone, the moon will dip behind the earth's shadow between 10:00 and 10:52 p.m. on the 20th. The full eclipse schedule can be found here, if you're interested (and, really, who wouldn't be? ;))

I will be viewing the eclipse from South Carolina, as we'll be heading down that day for my son's Marine Boot Camp family and and graduation the following two days. So, here's hoping SC has clear skies that night!

And speaking of the moon...I am tickled about that little moon phase module over there in the right hand margin! Just found that this evening. As my friends know, I can be a little (ahem) obsessive about the moon, so when I find these kinds of little bloggy-toys, it just makes me so happy! ;) (Just click the link above and get your own, customizable moon phase module for you blog! Go know you want to... ;))

Images of January...

Hard to believe that January is already over, but indeed it is, as my 2008 photo blog project can so aptly attest. Thirty-one days, thirty-one photos. The collage above features representative bits of each day's photo. (You can view the actual photos at Inspired 365, if you're so inclined.)

Back when I was doing some hardcore scrapping, I loved doing pages about the every day.
I remember reading a comment on a scrapping board around that time asking why people would want to document these seemingly mundage types of things. Personally, I'd far rather record the every day. Sure, I love the holidays and birthdays and special events like weddings and births and such, but it's the every day that holds our true stories. Who we are, what we value.

While my January photo blog pictures may be no more than an opportunity for a voyeuristic look into my little world to most people, I'd be willing to bet that many of these photos will trigger strong, specific memories for my kids and me in years to some. I've been printing the photos, by week, onto sheets of paper and mailing them off to my son who has been in Marine boot camp since October. I'm betting he's finding more meaning in a shot of our breakfast food shelf and the juices in our fridge than the average person might. It's all about personal meaning. And the that is why I enjoy seeing these types of glimpses into others' lives, as well...because quite often, the personal, while unique, also had universal elements that we can all relate to. And that's pretty cool.