Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

In celebration of the day, I just thought I'd share some of my favorite costumes through the last (too many) years...

Yep, that's me.  I think I was 13.  This is my version of "punk" at the time. This foreshadows something that I find much, much more frightening (you will see). 

Chicken Little's second Halloween.  The first year she was Tinkerbell and we squeezed her into a lime green leotard with wings (she looked like a big booger).  It was hysterical, but I can't find any pictures.  This particular Halloween, the temperature dropped from 80 to 40 overnight, so we had to quickly rethink the angel outfit and she became a cowgirl - much warmer!  Many years followed where any costume was good as long as it involved some sort of face paint or make-up - and always she was "workin' it".

Remember the first picture, this is where it gets scary.  This is CL - same age - same general idea!  For those of you about to enter this time, remember it is a phase and it will pass!

High school: wigs, trips to Goodwill, and much angst over having a cool costume.

So, now she is at college and still Halloween is a big deal.  She's posting her costumes now on her own blog.  But we are not left out this year - we get the pleasure of just enjoying the end product with grand babies.  A pirate and his parrot! 

Happy Halloween everybody!  Be safe and get lots of candy!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Grace Full

I mentioned the other day how much I have been loving the 31 Days of Grace series that Emily at Chatting at the Sky, has been writing throughout October.  It has been amazing!  (Get it? amazing grace!)  :-)

Today she is asking her readers to write about grace.

Life is full of grace, it is our choice, our obligation, our privilege to receive and share it.

The past couple of years have been a test.  As a family and as individuals, we've had our challenges, and in spite of everything I'm still able to look around and see our blessings.  That is grace.

As hormones have wreaked havoc on my body and my mind, I have felt strange and out of control.  I've spent most of this year in a clumsy, sweaty, painful, slightly befuddled and distracted haze.  Most of the time, I'm exhausted from the battle I fight just to stand up each day, yet I continue to stumble blindly forward, and without fail, I end up in a bright place, full of warmth and light.  That is grace. 

Many times during this season I've been too self-involved to be gracious to others.  Having the humility and strength to make amends following those days when I am ashamed to say I showed and accepted no grace.  That is grace.

I recently heard a new twist on the comparison of God to a teacher.  The speaker said, as you prepare for a test, the teacher is talking to you, giving you tools, guiding you, preparing you, but when it comes time for the actual test, the teacher is silent.  Depending on how you did on the test, the good teacher praises and rewards you, or if you failed, the teacher will begin the lesson again, reteaching in a different way and gently trying to rebuild your confidence.  During our recent tests, I have been searching and questioning, and I have been so disappointed because I felt my questions and were falling on deaf ears. As usual, I received the gift of this metaphor during this time when I was so desperate to hear it.  That is grace.

On a particularly difficult day, crying and praying out loud on the entire drive home, begging for a sign (anything!) that everything was going to be ok.  Turning the corner and seeing that sign (literally!):  a black and white billboard that said in huge letters "BREATHE" and nothing else. (Be still and know that I am.)  That is grace.

I have desperately tried to control every little "peace" of my life, and I continue to fail.  Recognizing that I am not the One in control, and that this is my lesson and my test.  This is tough, and that is grace.

Understanding, giving and receiving an acceptance and a Love that is without conditions and without end.  That is grace, my life is full, and I am deeply grateful.

I saw a similar sign on Flower Patch Farmgirl (love that blog!) here.  The piece she pictured was wonderful, and I loved the idea of it.  Instead of saying I stole the idea, I'd prefer to say I was inspired  by it.  I rushed this one, so it didn't translate as well as I'd hoped, but I may try again. 

I'm a feeling a little nervous and vulnerable about this post because it is so personal.  But, with amazing grace surrounding me, I acknowledge my hesitation and fear with a wink and a nod and hit publish....

Friday, October 29, 2010

Gratitude Friday

Today I'm grateful for:

  1. Second chances
  2. Sweater season
  3. Having a job to go to everyday (as challenging as it may be at times)  :-)
  4. It's our Anniversary!
  5. The ability to get out of the bed today
 Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Good, Funny, Texas, Not So Good and a Tutorial

GOOD:  I attended a class at work today based on the book, Getting Things Done.  When we still carried planners, I had my whole life arranged with the Franklin Covey system, but since I now keep my calendar in Outlook, I haven't really figured out a system for managing everything.  This class was AWESOME because they gave some applicable organization techniques and great tips on how to do apply them in Outlook.  Yea!  This is my weekend homework - I'm determined to use this stuff 'cause I'm tired of being so scattered.

FUNNY:  I caught a glimpse of this through the window this weekend... 

That was the sneaky-through-the-blinds picture I took.  Then I got bold and just opened the door for this one.

Yep, that's my husband vacuuming the lawn!  Bwaahaahaahahahahahahah!!!  Sorry for the blurry pictures, but it's hard to stay steady when you're rolling on the floor laughing hysterically.  He decided it would be easier to vacuum the acorns up off the lawn instead of raking or blowing them.  I have to give it to him, it was a clever solution, and it looks great.  :-)

TEXAS:  We had some storms roll through here this weekend. You can see (above) what the sky was like in the morning - sunny and gorgeous.  About an hour later, the sky in front of the house looked like this...

And from the back of the house, it looked like this! Within 30 minutes - it was pretty again.  I've lived here all my life, and it still amazes me how quickly the weather can change. 

 NOT SO GOOD:  I got home from work today, and I was all motivated to plug in my computer and get organized (using all that good info I learned).  I walked in the door, let the dog out, changed my clothes, let the dog in, finished the conference call I was on, and started to log into the network.  Lola came up and started rubbing her head and face on my leg - can't be good, right?

Why would that be bad?  Let's just say that Lola and I begrudgingly share our living space.  I'm allergic and she's a huge slobber factory, so I keep my distance most of the time.  She most certainly loves Joe and Chicken Little the best.  Even though neither of them were here tonight, she still would never be so cuddly with me.

I looked down at her, and this is what looked back!

OMG!!  Her whole face was swole up!  Not on my watch!!!  I would be blamed and NEVER be forgiven if something happened to her while she was alone with me.  (DAGNABBIT!!!!  I probably used a different choice phrase or two, but I'm keepin' it clean.)

The vet was closed, so off to the Emergency Animal Clinic we went.  Have you ever tried to heave/shove a 150 pound, non-compliant, stubborn, drooling, smelly, shedding beast into a mid-sized sedan? 

Here's the TUTORIAL:  
  1. Open the car door.
  2. Throw all the junk from the back seat onto the floor of the garage.
  3. Coax the dog close enough to the door that you can pick up each front paw and put it on the back seat.
  4. Quickly run around to the opposite side of the dog and SHOVE!
  5. Get hind end close enough to the door that you can pick up each rear paw and put it on the back seat.
  6. Make sure the tail is in.
  7. Shut the door! 
  8. Frantically run into the house and try to find car keys you misplaced in your panic.
  9. Locate keys, run to car, get in driver's seat with dog's drooling, swollen head hanging over your shoulder.
  10. Start car and slowly back out so as not to jiggle the dog and dislodge any more fluids to run down your neck and arm.
I was covered in fur, and not wanting her to suffer alone, I was already starting to itch and snot myself.

Turns out we both had allergy "events" tonight.  We got to the clinic, they gave her shots of Benedryl and steroids, and sent us on our way.  (I had to get her BACK into the car to bring her home, and she was DOPED up and even MORE NON-COMPLIANT than the first time.  Repeat previous procedure, but in public.)

By the time we got home, we both looked and felt a bit like this...

(I took both of these pictures at the clinic - I have no shame! I'm sure they thought I was a crazy person.  I can't imagine why she doesn't like me.)

When we got home, she went right to the treat jar, and looked at me expectantly. I knew all would be right with the world.

We don't know what she got into, the vet said maybe she was stung by a bee.  It's been about 7 hours and she's pitiful, but returning to normal.  I snorted and sneezed (and maybe even drooled) for about an hour, but once I was able to take a shower, I started to feel better too. 

Now that we're both in a Benedryl haze, it's probably time to put a close to this day... 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Picturing Grace

For the last 26 days, Emily at Chatting at the Sky has been discussing grace, and today she's having a linky party where her readers are posting pictures of what grace looks like to them.

What does grace look like to you? 

I'm linked up - go over and check out all of the other beautiful pictures on Emily's site.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Saturday Summary

I had big plans for yesterday - I got some of the things done, but as usual not nearly as much as I was hoping to accomplish. 

I got up early and had a breakfast of champions...
Not really, I just love me some Honeycomb cereal. I don't buy it very often, because I can eat the whole box! The weekend is the only time I have time to sit down and have a bowl of cereal in the mornings, so I splurged. YUMMY! :-)

Then I went outside and inspected the back yard. I'm seeing pictures all over the place of lovely fall colored leaves and landscapes, but not in Texas. The hibiscus are STILL blooming.
And then there's the "fertility corner". Keep all young women and girls away from this this part of the yard! This is the area right outside our master bedroom (YIKES!). All summer, it's been growing like crazy and the plants in these pots and beds have gotten out of control.


Loved the way the water drops looked like drops of mercury on these leaves. The picture didn't really capture it, but it was so pretty.

We moved into this house almost 5 years ago, and I've had a box of crosses in the garage since the move. I just wasn't sure where to hang them. I moved a clock that was hanging on this very short wall leading from the kitchen to the laundry room, and decided to hang them here. I'm so happy to finally have them back on display, and I LOVE it!!

I got this coupon in the mail this week, so I figured I'd check it out since I've been hearing good things about Payless lately (here).
I've been having some knee trouble lately so I'm limited to flat shoes for now. This is a bummer because I love me some heels! Anyway, this is what I ended up walking away with. Pretty cute, huh?

 From Payless I went to Hobby Lobby. I've got mixed emotions about Hobby Lobby. I love some of their stuff, but the customer service there is pretty much non-existant. I'm not even going to discuss the conversation I had with the Customer Service Manager yesterday. Let's just say that, in my humble opinion, they did not select the right person for that job. Anyway, I ended up leaving with most of what was on my list.

But, while I was there.... OUCH!!! Have you felt it yet? I was bitten by the Christmas bug!

Also, I remembered that last year, instead of hauling our ancient, pitiful, most-of-the-lights-burned-out, Christmas tree back up into the attic, I insisted we throw it away. I wanted to make sure that we didn't have any choice but to buy a new one this year, or go without. I would love to have a skinny one, about 9' tall, but I'm not sure if that is wise. We are talking about downsizing the house and if I get a 9' tree, will it be too tall for a smaller house? Ugh!

And I'm not wanting to spend this kind of money on a new tree!
I think I found the style I like though - skinny with the little pinecones on it and pre-lit.  I'm sure they'll go on sale - at least 50% off sometime before Christmas. (Hopefully before Thanksgiving so I will have it when I want to put it up the day after.)

Finally, I spent about an hour searching for a newspaper.  They were sold out!  Friday night, the Texas Rangers won the game that is going to send them to the World Series for the first time EVER.  So, I was trying to find a paper for Joe.  Oh well...

I came home and spent the rest of the evening catching up on some reading.

I'm happy that I accomplished what I did, but I always need 4 or 5 more hours each day. Does this happen to you?  Do you usually run out of time before you run out list?  If not, how do you manage it?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Gratitude Friday

Last night I was sitting at the kitchen table catching up on some email, and I looked up and noticed the little face on the stem of this pumpkin.  It's kind of cool and kind of creepy.  (Please ignore the messy kitchen counter and pile of laundry in the background.)

Here's a close up.  Doesn't it look a like a little Chinese dragon?
Today I'm grateful for:
  1. My jeans still fit.
  2. Airline miles.
  3. Michael's & Joann Fabrics.
  4. Finding out that I could upgrade my blogger options, and now I can have giant pictures.
  5. Technology - I sent my hubby an email this morning and it was titled "Hi Handsome." He was leading a web meeting when the email arrived, and the notification window with the title of the email popped right up there on the screen. Isn't he lucky that he got to share that with all of his colleagues? Bwahhhhahaha!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Handmade Christmas & Random Stuff

First things first – 12 Days of {handmade} Christmas – I’m soooo looking forward to it!


I will be joining in the Christmas crafting fun over at Edie's blog: Life in Grace.  I have to confess that I have a wee blog-crush on Edie.  I love the way she writes, her bold honesty, she’s smart and funny, a real southern woman, and she is a hoot!  I wanna have a blog maybe half as good as hers when I grow up.

Here’s a link to her blog – go check it out and plan to participate in all the crafty goodness of the 12 Days {handmade} of Christmas!

life in grace

Now, moving on to the random:

I saw more of this really cool rainbow piping stuff on the roadside the other day.  I’m fascinated by it.  So, here’s another picture of that.  I love color!!! (I also like exclamation points!!!! – in case you hadn’t noticed.) 

What is up with this??  It looks like maybe an albino pigeon.  Creatures this bright don’t usually last that long in the wild – they are way too visible and way too edible.  He was probably waddling around the yard because he’s too “fluffy” to fly!  I wonder how he got to be so fat.  Do you think he's someone’s pet?  (That's a generic "he" - I didn't get close enough to find out.)

On Sunday, we were checking out and planning the next project for the Yard of the Month (fingers crossed) and there he was just eating his fill, and he didn’t seem in the least bit bothered that we were standing there staring and taking his picture.  Here’s another one of him all puffed up – trying to be big and scary, maybe?  (He looks kinda like a chicken here, but he definitely was not a chicken.)

We haven’t seen him since – I’m hoping that if he was a pet on the lamb (get it? Ha, ha!) that he was found by his people.  I’m just worried that he may have been gobbled by the coyotes around here - too sad...

This was parked across from me in the parking garage today.  REALLY?!  That’s all I could say. REALLY?!  Aren’t we in a recession?  Isn’t this just a bit ostentatious for the ‘burbs?  REALLY?!  Well, I’m glad someone is living LARGE  (probably not very large though, I think only Oompa Loompas can fit in this car.)

Finally, speaking of fatties (see bird) and living large (see above), I want my Lola’s life.  She sleeps 20 out of 24 hours, eats only treats, suns herself either outside or in the window at 10 and 4 each day, gets regular back (and butt) scratches, and is presented with handmade gifts on a regular basis.  And then, she doesn’t even appreciate it – she rewards us with a steady stream of slobber, stink, and the occasional whine when it’s been too long since the last treat.

Here she is annoyed that I'm interrupting her tanning...
Here she is protecting her “baby”.  Chicken Little made her this toy before she left for school.  This picture was taken when the toy was new.  
CL also used to walk her every day – now the walks aren’t quite as frequent (3-4 times a week at most), and this is the result…

She’s turned into a real FATTY! This picture is gross – she looks like a LOG with skinny branches coming off. Notice in the far right corner – that’s her “baby” after toting it around and sliming it for a couple of months.

Lola says, “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.”  And “Don’t just stand there taking my picture - bring me another treat!”
That's all I've got for ya right now.  I have lots of ideas and crafty plans for this weekend.   I hope to have some fun posts for you all next week.  J