Random Thursday

1. It’s Random Thursday 33! Whaaat?

I have a theory. I think that 33 is the number of Randoms with no subtitle. I think that when they have a random subtitle they get classified differently.

I had a subtitle in mind. I started typing it in but then I thought up my theory and had to test it. It wasn’t exactly a double-blind experiment, but for the purposes of this particular theory, I believe that’s okay.

In answer to your question, no. I no longer have any idea what that subtitle might have been.

2. In my wee little brain, there are rattling around numerous unfinished posts. Some of those I need to hold onto, but others are best used here, where they will (at least) get some oxygen, and (at most) entertain you. One of those posts bears the following title:

BLAME IT ON DOWNTON ABBEY

and goes on to detail (although the details are murky, hence the ‘unfinished’) the epidemic use of the word “very.” In my head, this post tells about how every time I read that someone is “so very glad” or “so very sad” or “so very fill-in-the-blank” my reading voice switches immediately to that of Lady Mary.

And I giggle.

3. One of the greatest problems the military wife will ever face is finding a new hairdresser.

Yeah yeah, our husbands deploy. That’s hard and all. But they are still our husband while they’re gone. Our hairdressers, on the other hand, cease being our hairdressers when we relocate.

Oh. My. Heart.

(OMM, puh-lease don’t report me to one of those hateful military spouse-haters Facebook pages. It’s satire, people. Geez.)

But seriously. Hairdresser/hairdresee relationships are not a dime a dozen. They don’t manifest themselves out of the clear flipping blue like…like teenage love in the months leading up to prom. They are rare and magical happenings the likes of which Nicholas Sparks can only dream. They are hard won, and forged in the fire of absolute dependence.

When one must leave her beloved to brave a new path, heart broken and mane amok, she will survey the bleak landscape with nary a hope that there might be another spirit akin to the one from which she has been torn. It can takes weeks, nay, months, to secure a new and satisfactory union.

It is, dare I say, so very trying.

4. I had planned to write this earlier today. Not early, earlier. (Duh)

(Aside) I could write a hundred thousand unique posts on my epic and daily battles with early.

Before I could write, some things had to happen.

A. Coffee
B. This:

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5. And then it was time for the girlie rigamarole so that I could go do this:

(Aside) I could write one single post on how I resent the time that must be spent on the girlie rigamarole.

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This. This is what my heart needed today. A trusted friend from days gone by (Germany 2004) and her precious little tutu girl. When she crawled up on my lap (the tutu girl, not the friend), I understood what happened to the Grinch’s heart. Mine was simultaneously two sizes larger and ten pounds lighter.

This. This is grace.

Happy Birthday Month, Lyndi Sue!

6. See #5 and then see # 3.

I am now in my tenth month of Colorado residency. TEN. MONTHS. I have spent ten long months looking for love in all the wrong places, looking for love in too many..hairdressers. My last cut, which took place just days before Thanksgiving, was in South Dakota. It was a good haircut, too. The best I’d had in all the time I’ve been wandering aimlessly through this desert. The one before that had me seriously considering homicide. It was that bad. Now I’m too afraid to get back up on the ol’ horse, so to speak.

Pray for me.

7. When all the boys were home for Christmas, I took my new lens out to photograph a basketball game. I got down in the grass and tried (and tried) to frame the game with the yard flag bearing a red and green wreath surrounding the first letter of the family name. Because how cool would that be? I sat there, and then lay there, in the dead, scratchy grass for forever, trying to get a shot with all four males, the basketball, some action, and the dang yard flag.

I was about to keel over with despair when somebody sensed my pain and wandered over to help me out. My favorite child plopped down right in front of my camera lens, and proceeded to give me her best poses.

 

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Forget the boys, I’ve got this.

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This is my thoughtful pose.

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And this one is shy.

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This is either, “It’s such hard work to be a model” or, “Man, do those boys stink!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Random Thursday

1. -There are five update notices pestering me from the top of this page.
-There are 2,929 comments awaiting my approval. (Most of them for Viagra/Tramadol/Gucci purses.)
-Every Random Thursday post says it’s random-thursday-32.
-The mobile version of this website is ridiculously ridiculous.
-There are 1,529 unread emails in my work account. (Although to be truthful, I mostly keep them there to make the Wonder Hub twitch on the rare occasion he glances over my shoulder and sees them.)

2. In other news, I made this fabulous dairy-free hot chocolate this afternoon. It reminded me of the hot chocolate we had in Milan on Thanksgiving of 2004. It was quite a bit of work, considering I had packets of Swiss Miss in the cupboard, but it was more fun than, say, trying to conquer my various technology woes.

That hot chocolate, the hot chocolate in Milan, was the best hot chocolate in the whole, wide world. This one, the dairy-free hot chocolate, is a fair second.

3. Remember the socks and underwear debacle? Well, since having that little conversation, we have moved. Moving presented the perfect opportunity to readdress the situation. To fix it once and for all. To overcome. (cue Mandisa)

So I stood in front of my dresser and thought it through. After a relatively short period of time, a lightbulb went off. (On?)

Socks. And underwear.

Socks.
Underwear.

Right? It totally makes sense! So now..I’m batting a thousand. I stand in front of my dresser and say to myself, Socks…and underwear before opening that top drawer, and thinking..

Who puts on socks before they’re wearing underwear??*

4. Molly Sue the Timid Rescue Pup has come into her own. Her journey started several years ago with the Foot Stomp, a move during which she would (and will) place herself directly in my line of vision and stomp her left foot periodically, generally meaning, “Take me for a walk!”

Next came the Woof?  I applauded the Woof? because, quite frankly, a dog who will sit patiently outside the sliding glass door, rain or shine, waiting for someone to remember she’s out there, is cause for a lot of guilt.

(Aside) I’m going to talk about guilt in random point number five, so please kindly pretend that Molly-guilt is the segue.

Segue: (n) an uninterrupted transition from one piece of music or film scene to another.

Next came the Dinner Time Stalk, which, while demonstrating growth in the area of self-advocacy, still rates fairly high on the passive-aggressive scale.

Tonight, though. Tonight our girl came full-circle. She’s self-actualized! It’s been a long, hard road, but check out what she did at 6:01pm.

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5. I had a massage today. It was brilliant. It was glorious! It was lovely, in the loveliest possible way.

I also had guilt today (remember: segue), which is ridiculous. Who feels guilty for taking care of herself? Who, when her neck’s mobility is reduced to, say, ten percent, feels actual guilt over doing something to regain the capacity to safely check her car’s blind spot?**

6. I love commas. In my opinion, a sentence can hardly have too many commas. A professor attempted to take me to task for this once, but my retort stopped her in her tracks. She even, dare I say, offered up her grudging approval. It was one of those brilliant moments I will remember forever and always for being one of fewer than a handful of times I came up with the brilliant retort immediately, instead of two hours later.

Do you do this? Do you replay a conversation in your head long after it does you any good to replay the conversation, and do you, at this late hour, come up with the most brilliant responses ever to be never heard by another human?***

7. The response? It went like this:

“Well, Dr. So-and-So, one might say that my writing is somewhat Dickensian.”

Right!? Because who could put together a sentence with more commas than Charles Dickens himself? And more importantly, what British Lit prof worth her salt is going to criticize Mr. Dickens?

 

 

*Rhetorical question, people. Please don’t tell me the order in which you put on your undergarments.

**Not a rhetorical question. Please answer.

***Please say yes.

Random Thursday: Will You Take Five Instead of Seven? Edition

1. Before we left Germany (2005. Wah.), I purchased a set of 12 Coca Cola glasses from Gianni, the purveyor (purveyor? note to self: look up definition of purveyor) of our favorite Italian restaurant. I wanted them because they say “Trink Coca Cola,” and I wanted mementos of every single thing in Europe. Don’t tell the Wonder Hub, but I think they are one of my most favorite mementos from our time there. (note to self: write post about favorite mementos from time in Germany) I think I paid Gianni all of twelve Euro for them.

So the other day, I was drinking my daily glass of water (Ha. But kind of not.) from one of the last four Trink Coca Cola glasses whilst (note to self: use cool words like whilst more often) tidying the kitchen. I set my glass on top of a hand towel so I could wipe down countertops, and forgot that I had set one of the last four Trink Coca Cola glasses on top of a hand towel and so grabbed the hand towel to dry the countertops, and then watched in horror as one of the last four Trink Coca Cola glasses went spinning and flying and shattering to its death.

Did I mention that out of twelve Trink Coca Cola glasses, there were only four remaining?

So yeah. I spent the better part of 30 minutes kicking myself while sweeping and vacuuming and dusting and mopping shards of my poor, beloved, dearly-departed, Trink Coca Cola glass from a three-county radius, and when I stepped back to survey my kingdom, I thought, “Man, am I thirsty,” and spent the better part of five minutes searching for my Trink Coca Cola glass of water.

2. The coffee cup shot. The one from the Birthday Month post? The whole point was to capture the steam coming off the coffee. The problem was this: books, socks discarded midway through the night, random and sundry hoodies strewn about in the background of the picture. I wanted to keep it real and all, so I scooched them out of the frame one by one, until, well, you were given the impression that my bedroom is, uh, something it’s not. And I’m sorry for that. I’m very, very sorry.

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But not as sorry as I was to drink less than scorching-hot coffee.

3. A month or so back I was at my local library. It’s a nice one, with nice librarians. (note to self: write a post about all your libraries/cards/librarians) So I’m there. It’s nearly closing time. I’m racing through the stacks, looking for, a) authors I like, b) titles that speak to my soul, and c) eye-catching book jackets. (note to self: write a post about book jackets) (note to self: write about new book-reading philosophy) When I leave the library, it is with the last librarian, the one with the door key. (note to readers: how cool would it be to have the key to the library???) I have seven books. The last two were grabbed based solely on their pink and green covers, which remind me of leg warmers I had in the very early 80s.

Man, I loved those leg warmers.

Several nights later, I’m in bed and reach for a book. It’s pink. 80s pink. The author is Laura DiSilverio, and the little blurb on the back compares it to the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. I’m intrigued. I begin, and other than a bewildering capitalization of the word Dumpster (twice!), it’s good enough to keep reading. So I do. The thing I find most interesting is that it is set in Colorado Springs, a city in which I lived for more than ten years of my young-adulthood (note to readers: I had a particularly long young-adulthood), before the Wonder Hub married me and whisked me off to Germany. When the protagonist describes her office, I know precisely where in the city she is. When she takes off to interview witnesses, I know her route, the landscape, the socioeconomic implications of where those witnesses live. It’s fascinating.

But wait. It gets better.

At the end of the workday, Private Investigator Charlie Swift heads home. I’m cruising along with her, brain on autopilot, until she mentions a restaurant that rings a bell. And wait. That road..

Tudor Rd.

I know that road!

PI Swift pulls into her drive on Tudor Road, and before long is sharing a beer (a scotch?) on the back deck with her friend (and possible love interest?) Dan. Father Dan is priest at Saint Michael the Archangel Episcopal Church and lives in the rectory next door to Charlie.

I know that church!

I know that rectory!

I used to live in that rectory!

4. Early in my wayward 20s, my friend Courteney’s wonderful parents took me in. Courteney and I lived with them in the basement of the rectory of St. Mike’s for about a year, during which time I learned the beauty of the Episcopalian liturgy, that Episcopal priests drink (gasp!), and quite a lot about repartee from the members of Courteney’s very witty family.

They were good to me. I am thankful.

5. I think a lot about legacy. I want to leave a good one. I think about legacies that others have left. I think about Frank Sinatra and wonder about, “My Way” as a legacy. I do many things my way, but I’d rather be remembered for the things over which I gave up my way. Things I did for the good of others, especially when it would have been easier (and more fun) to do it my way.

I was thinking about John Newton, who wrote the poem, “Amazing Grace,” and William Walker, who set it to music 56 years later. Talk about a legacy!

“Amazing Grace,” in its original form, is estimated to be sung more than ten million times per year.

Chris Tomlin “Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)

Todd Agnew “Grace Like Rain”

Phil Wickham “This is Amazing Grace”

That’s what I’m talking about. That’s the kind of legacy I want to leave. No, not one that involves singing (note to self: write about the Klasi Family Singers), and you’re welcome for that. One that encourages. One that lifts up. One that points you toward the source of Amazing Grace.

 

 

 

Random Thursday: Back in the Saddle Edition

1. Well, hello there. It’s been nine months and two days since last we met. Quite a lot has happened in that time.

During my absence, I have:

-left my home in Virginia.

-spent months separated from my beloved WH*.

-spent more than four months in relative homelessness.

-slept in no fewer than 14 different beds.

-laughed and cried, mourned and rejoiced.

-been debilitated by depression, and succumbed to fits of hysterical laughter.

-grown.

-come to a new understanding of John 16:33, and I Peter 1:5-7.

2. Colorado is my new home, and although I have lived here before (and actually, spent more of my adult (term used loosely) years in this state than in any other), it has taken much adjusting. Because of the prolonged bout of homelessness and the myriad difficult circumstances surrounding this move, I did not even begin to grieve for all I left behind until just recently, when the Aspens began turning and my heart ached for the unrivaled beauty of the Virginia landscape in autumn.

(Aside: the unrivaled beauty of the Virginia landscape in autumn is the steadfast Virginian’s reward for surviving the unrivaled misery of a Virginia summer. That, I do not miss.)

My lovely marina. I miss it so.

My lovely marina. I miss it so.

My lovely path, I miss it so.

My lovely path, I miss it so.

 

3. Colorado, though. Colorado has an entirely different kind of beauty.

Vail, seen from Red Sandstone Trail

Vail, seen from Red Sandstone Trail

Pikes Peak, seen from Devil's Head Fire Tower Lookout in the Pike National Forest

Pikes Peak, seen from Devil’s Head Fire Tower Lookout in the Pike National Forest

 

Red Sandstone to Son of Middle Creek Trail

Red Sandstone to Son of Middle Creek Trail

 

A Boy and His Dog, on Red Sandstone to Son of Middle Creek Trail.

A Boy and His Dog, on Red Sandstone to Son of Middle Creek Trail.

The beauty of this landscape serves to remind me that life is filled with both dark and light, pain and joy, mourning and rejoicing. Life has been hard these last months, so hard that there were times I thought the darkness would swallow me whole. Even in the midst of that, on the dark days when I could clearly hear Job’s wife telling him, “Curse God and die!” there was always light. There were always moments of joy. There was always cause to hope, and therefore, to perservere.

4. When I fell off the face of the planet back in January, I told myself that I just had to get through this.

I thought God would bring me through this, and then I would tell you all about it. You know, like, “Hey! I’ve been through the fire, but now I’m out! Let me tell you what God did!”

(deep breath)

Instead, I’ll be telling you what God is doing in the midst of the fire.

5. Yesterday, He did this:

 

Photo Shoot!

Photo Shoot!

 

6. I want you to know that I’m still fundamentally Karen. Let me demonstrate.

Molly Sue had an appointment with her new vet today, so I threw on some clothing that might fool her (the vet, not the dog) into thinking I am a functioning member of society, and raced out the door. Then I raced back in, grabbed the dog, and headed to where I was absolutely certain the new vet’s office was. Only it wasn’t. So of course we were late, which is the ridiculous and never-ending story of my life. I apologized profusely, and then apologized profusely again when asked for Molly’s medical records, the one thing I had been told to bring. Things went more or less smoothly after that, with the exception of the scale, which seemed to run about five pounds heavy (much like mine at home) and the glare I received as Molly got the shot I promised her she wouldn’t be getting, and the purse I couldn’t find anywhere when it was time to pay the bill.

I headed for home, thinking that no one, no one understands how hard it is to be me.

And then I realized I was wearing just one largish, dangly earring.

7. I do realize I haven’t actually told you anything. I promise I’m not pulling a high school drama queen move on you. It’s just that while I know I want to bring you with me on this journey, I haven’t exactly figured out the right way to do it. The story isn’t all mine to tell, and discretion is the better part of valor, or something like that. I hope you’ll be patient with me. I hope you’ll come along. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that when God is involved, it’s bound to be EPIC.

 

 

John 16:33  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (NIV)

I Peter 1:5-7 “You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (HCSB)

*Separated, as in I moved to CO ahead of him, not separated as in separated.

Random Thursday: I’m Still Random Edition

1. How do you handle socks and underwear? Do yours live in a shared drawer or do they each have their own? Do you fold or stuff?

I need to know.

Since we move fairly often, I’ve had many opportunities for reassessment in the socks and underwear department. Yet, we’ve been in this home for over four years (light years for a military family), and every single day (or, you know, every day that I bothered to shower), I have opened the sock drawer when I wanted the underwear drawer, and vice versa. Last year I got so fed up with the whole deal that I switched the drawers.

In answer to your question: NO.

2. I asked for this for Christmas. Nobody got it for me, so I ordered it myself.

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The categories for any given week are:

Things I have to do but that can wait a day, or two, or three..
Small things I have to do before I can do the big things I have to do
Things I absolutely have to do unless I absolutely don’t want to do them
Things people have been bugging me to do for a really long time

It makes me giggle. It’s pretty much like this Mark Asher person read my mind, and it totally works for me. Which pretty much makes me totally happy.

3. After returning three different pairs of (birthday) boots, this is the pair I finally decided on.

 

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Aren’t they pretty? I really, really, really love them. They are, officially, the highest heel I own…and I might need a wee bit of instruction on how to walk in them.

4. Molly and I were running errands last week.

 

734851_10200229596971738_391979591_nAs we were waiting at the world’s longest stoplight, I looked back and noticed her ears in the rearview window. Seeing her ears made me think of that “God is my co-pilot” bumper sticker, and then of the one that said, “Dog is my co-pilot.” I pretty much cracked myself up thinking about that bumper sticker, so I snapped this picture and posted it on Facebook.

As I am wont to do, I immediately began second-guessed myself, like this: Really, Karen, it’s not like “God is my co-pilot” is scripture. It’s not like I’m twisting the Bible, for Pete’s sake. Besides, it’s funny! Molly is my co-pilot. She is! And seriously, every time I have relegated God to the position of co-pilot, I have crashed and burned. Surely people will get it. Won’t they? Surely they’ll realize how hilarious I am. 

And seriously, why can’t Christians just grow themselves a sense of humor??

And then Fran liked the post, and all was well.

5. I have these designations for foods I will and won’t eat. It’s complicated enough to be its own post, er, book. For example: candy bars. A full-sized Snickers bar? I’m on it. A fun-size Snickers bar? Count me in. One of those dumb little Snickers Miniatures? Fuhgeddaboudit. The ratios are all wrong. I’ve pondered this for some time, and I think there are too many peanuts and not enough chocolate. The result is that even though it’s just that little bite, it’s not worth the calories.

Who’s with me on this?

6. Do you have fat underwear? You know, like fat jeans?

I need to know.

7. My BFF posted a recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto yesterday, and the most desperate need came over me.

 

DSC00780I had to make it, and the sooner the better. I started prepping the squash (impatient girl style, subbing butcher knife for veg peeler) with plans to bat my eyelashes at the Wonder Hub while asking him to make an Arborio Rice run. When he walked in the door, the squash and onions were all but done. The house smelled divine. I packed him off quickly, after both texting him the ingredient AND making him look at the spelling. He called ten minutes later. He couldn’t find it anywhere. I talked him through it. Still nothing. I signed off, frustrated. Ten minutes later, he called back. The manager had confirmed that the store has discontinued it.

Jerks.

I didn’t have the heart to make him go to another store, so I surveyed the kitchen. I had…squash, and onions. And a smallish temper tantrum.

For dinner we had Red Baron pizza. (And maybe one more tantrum.)

7.5. Tonight, though. Tonight I made sure I had all the ingredients. Tonight we had this:

 

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(And by we, I mean me, because after my first two bowls, I hid the rest in the back of the fridge.)

Amen.

Random Thursday: Happy New Year Edition

1. For two solid years, I daily hounded the Monkey to practice his saxophone. I threatened, I yelled. I employed other (insane and unproductive), non-Love & Logic-approved parenting tactics. This saxophone, the one he begged us to play, certain that girls would swoon every time he picked it up, became my nemesis. It was a rented saxophone, which in the end, I returned to the music store and paid some outrageous extortionist’s fee for them to take off my hands early. In the end, I think he learned to play all of three notes on that stupid thing.

Even thinking about that saxophone increases my heart rate.

So on the 30th of December, some 1.5 years after the end of Sax Era, out of the wild, random blue, the child in question says this:

“You know why I didn’t ever practice my saxophone? You know that thing, that thing that goes in your mouth? That wooden thing? Every time I put that thing in my mouth, I felt like I was hearing fingernails screech down a chalkboard.” And after a considerable, thoughtful pause, “I don’t know why I never told you that.”

2. Despite my rebellion in regard to New Year postings, I can’t stop thinking about the whole resolution thing. For years, I resolved not to make any. For some time after that, I just cut-and-pasted the same ones. They looked like this:

1) Be nicer (especially to my long-suffering husband).
2) Give my time, I think it’s the greatest gift.
3) Love more. Especially my family and friends. We’re all desperate for it, so why not do my part to fill up those around me?
4) WRITE.
5) Figure out how to get to know God. I have this sense that I’m forever on the edge of something really BIG with Him, but that I hold out because I’m scared or lazy or stuck in my spiritual inertia. He is so huge, so endless, so fascinating, and yet here I sit, content with taking Him in my teeny-tiny comfortable doses.

3. This year, I’ve been wavering between two possible approaches to the whole resolution dilemma. Bobbi’s pastor encouraged her to make a three-pronged resolution, like this:

1) What are you going to keep?

2) What are you going to let go?

3) What are you going to take on?

4. The other idea came from a post over at SheLoves/Magazine. In it, the author talks about what led her to ditch the New Year’s Resolution and grasp just one word that,

“..sums up who I want to be, or a character trait I want to develop, or an attribute I want to intentionally add to my life.”

I just now quit wavering. I’m going to do both these things. As they are very much not random, we will have to revisit them again in a different post. In the meantime, think about whether either (or both) of these hold any value for your life. If so, perhaps you’ll join me.

5. This morning, a friend tweeted a picture of her dog looking out the window. The caption was Looking for Squirrels.

“That’s a great title for a blog post,” I thought. “I wonder if I looked for them (the squirrels, the distractions) if they would be less likely to come into my peripheral vision out of nowhere and set my brain off on a wild squirrel chase?”

Which made me remember what I heard at a writer’s conference once. This author suggested writing down everything, ever-y-thing I needed to do, or think about, or tend to, before sitting down to write. She didn’t recommend actually doing them, but rather transferring them from my brain to a sheet of paper as a way of clearing my mind before beginning to write.

Or maybe it was a He, and it was in a sermon. Maybe it was something to do before I pray, as a way to clear my mind of everything that so (so) easily distracts me from the important business of spending quality time with my God.

Look at that. That, my friends, is what I call two-for-one advice. Either way you look at it, it works!

Don’t say I never taught you anything on a Thursday.

5. Yes, I know it is now Friday. For those of you new to this deal, let me reiterate. Random Thursday does not necessarily happen on Thursday. (See: note on squirrels)

It’s Friday! It’s Friday, and at my house it is Christmas Eve! I can’t wait! Tonight, we will gather together. We will eat our traditional Mexican Fiesta. We will read the Christmas Story. We will open our Christmas Jammies. We will do other things worthy of Capital Letters. We will shake boxes and squeeze packages. We will laugh, and tease, and soak up the moments. The together moments. The, “For God so loved the world” moments.

Have I mentioned that I can’t wait?

I can’t!

7. One of the things I will do this weekend is try to talk the teenagers (and the newly minted young adult, sigh) into recreating this photo from Christmas morning, 2008.

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(Don’t tell me you find it surprising that the date was set incorrectly on my camera.)

Do you think they’ll do it? Let’s take bets. I bet I can get them to do it. Withholding food may be necessary, but I’m not above it.

I would like very much to recreate this photo (circa March, 2009), too.

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(Do you notice anything similar in the two photos?)

Unfortunately, there is zero percent chance of snow (or any precip) over the next several days.

Merry Christmas, my friends!

 

Random Thursday: Last Thursday in 2012 Edition

1. On the first day of December, I couldn’t zip up my favorite jeans. On that day, I lamented having been born in the Eating Month. What I realize now, on this 27th day of December, in the year of our Lord 2012, even as I am struggling to take a full breath while wedged into my largest-sized jeans, is that I was born in the month that is the warm-up to the Eating Month.

It’s been really, really fun. And it’s not even over yet.

2. We are celebrating Christmas (the present-giving/opening part) on the first weekend of January. In a blended family, these things happen. I remember back, waaay back, when we started this whole blended gig, how hard it was to give up the boys–for the weekend, for the summer, for a holiday. I felt cheated. I felt like my life was on hold, my family was torn asunder. I was stingy, and selfish, and ridiculously Karen-centric.

I see things differently now. I see the blessing of their presence in my life. I see, and understand, and acknowledge that they have been given to me for a time, as a gift. I want to soak up the minutes, the hours, the days with them. I want to make them count. Above all, I know (while still requiring the occasional reminder) that it is not about me. Okay, so perhaps a small part of it is about me, but it is largely, overwhelmingly (unfortunately) NOT.

3. The Wonder Hub just called me Karen Sue. He does that when I’m in trouble. Karen Sue is my name, so it’s okay. We call Molly, Molly Sue when she’s in trouble, too. Molly Sue is her name. The Wonder Hub is fond of saying that all the girls in our family are named after the original Sue.

I miss the original Sue.

A LOT.

4. I just realized that the original Sue would get a kick out of me realizing that it’s not all about me. She used to tell me that often when I was a teenager.

Mom: Karen, the world does not revolve around you!
Me: Well if it doesn’t, it should!

Carey attempted to share this little story with Moose one time, but I cut her down with my Evil Death Stare. Like he needs to run around wielding that little bit of information. Sheesh.

5. So I just had this picture of God pulling my mom aside and sharing the big news. “Sue! Get this! Karen has finally realized that the world doesn’t revolve around her!” They’re standing there, shoulder to shoulder, thick as thieves and chuckling to beat the band.

So glad I can provide the entertainment for you two!

6. We went to New York City for a few days over Christmas. The weather was very nice, with the exception of Christmas Eve. We walked to the restaurant in what the Monkey and I dubbed “smush,” a kind of snowy-slushy rain, but while we were waiting for the main course, we were treated to a few short minutes of a beautiful snowfall. I handed the Wonder Hub my phone to snap a pic. He did a nice job, don’t you think?

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7. It all went downhill from there.

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And now in reverse..

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Merry Christmas, y’all!

Random Thursday

1. The little permalink thingy suggests that this is Random Thursday 31. I kind of remember that last week was Random Thursday 31, too, until I began writing and it was clearly Random Thursday: The Goods Edition and I renamed it. Which makes me wonder…how many Random Thursday posts have I written?

I could go figure it out. I’m a fairly smart person. Eventually I’d figure it out. I know my fairly smart self well enough to realize that I’d end up on seven hundred bunny trails in the process– reading and reminiscing as I strolled casually down Bunny Trail Lane– and pretty soon it would be 12:02am and I would have dead people scattered about, having succumbed to starvation. Which would leave me a mess to clean up, and who needs that?

2. So….YOU. Yes, you there. I hereby task you with finding the number of Random Thursday posts I have written. Report back to us here by 12:02am.

Thanks.

3. All week long I wanted it to be Thursday. I had random stuff to tell you! Now, of course, it’s gone (so gone). Fortunately, I never run out of random. For instance, today is Orange Food Day at my house. How random is that?

For dinner we had..

Homemade Sharp Cheddar and Fontina Mac and Cheese (made in the crockpot from a recipe my lovely mother-in-law brought with her all the way from Oregon.)

 Roasted Butternut Squash…

…and orange slices.

Why?

Because I can, that’s why.

4. The recipe for the crockpot mac and cheese was as easy-breezy as a recipe can be. The mac and cheese itself, though. It could have been served on fine china at a five star restaurant. It was, as they say, ah-maaaa-zing. (Somebody says that, trust me.)

I could give you the recipe right now, and it would change your life.

5. It’s the exact middle of NaNoWriMo today. I have never been this tired in my whole, entire life. For real. I’m delirious, and I’m behind. Like, thousands of words behind.

I’m not worried, though. Recently (like ten seconds ago) I realized that my lifelong devotion to the underdog is largely due to the fact that I am the underdog.

6. Speaking of dogs.

Mine went for a walk today.

Molly Sue is a lover of nature. She finds peace here in the quiet of this place. She is always eager to go and witness the changing of the seasons; she longs for the crunch of the leaves beneath her paws and the smell of fall air in her nostrils.

Today especially, she was in awe of the green, and the red. It’s one of her favorite things about Virginia– that fall can come and everything can die, and then we get a wicked hurricane and six inches of rain (in 24 hours) and suddenly, there is life.

Molly Sue was speechless.

7. In case you missed it, my in-laws are here. I don’t think a girl ever had better in-laws. For the duration of their stay, I will not do laundry. I will have (willing) help in the kitchen. I will have an excuse to visit Starbucks every afternoon, after having great company for multiple pots of coffee every morning. I will be blessed with things like a new front door, new interior doors, and fresh paint. The plants I bought but didn’t plant will magically find their way into the dirt, and the Wonder Hub will fill his quota of trips to Lowe’s without me ever setting a foot in that wretched, mind-numbing place.

Whenever they are here, I find myself praying that the boys’ wives will love me as much as I love my mother-in-law, that they will love my visits like I do hers, and that they will consider not taking me to the airport on departure day, just like I do here.

Random Thursday: The Goods Edition

1. There’s this kid. (I love him so.) He’s a reliable sort, dependable as one can expect a young man of his particular age to be. Last night as I was headed out the door to vote, I tasked him with the following:

-Add broken lasagna noodles to soup pot, bring to boil for 10 minutes, reduce heat and stir in 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (See here? It’s already grated and measured out for you in this bowl!).
-Remove bread from oven when timer goes off. If bread is not goldeny-brown (like you have seen it 10,000 times before!) bake another five minutes.
-Take beautiful, artfully arranged, amazingly healthy, vibrantly colored salad from fridge and place on table.
-EAT.

When I got home, more than two hours later, he was gone. The Wonder Hub gave the soup a thumbs-up and we laughed together at the undercooked, mushy-ish bread. Ah well. Such is life. Half an hour later I opened the fridge, where I saw an interesting sight. My salad. My labor of love. It was pristine.

“Why didn’t you guys eat my salad?” I asked (or possibly whined).
“I didn’t know there was a salad,” promised the Wonder Hub.

I thought about the two hours I had spent standing in line to take care of my civic duty. I thought about my aching feet. I was irked. I could have put my feet up instead of making that salad. I could have gone to the bathroom instead of making that salad! I grabbed my phone.

That boy, he’s the goods.

2. About a month before Election Day, I received a new voter’s card in the mail. I opened it,  briefly acknowledged its existence, and then did with it what I do with all mail. The Wonder Hub was in the vicinity and said, “You should put that where you won’t lose it.”

In the morning on Election Day, I began looking for my voter’s card. I looked in the Karen pile the on upstairs desk. I looked in the Karen pile on the downstairs desk. I looked in the pile on the kitchen island, and then the pile I stuff into the kitchen island drawer when people come over. An hour later, I went back through each of these piles. Two hours later, I was getting desperate. I enlisted the Monkey’s help, to no avail. Finally, at zero-hour, I admitted defeat and emailed the Wonder Hub. Normally, I would email the Wonder Hub before I bothered looking. He is, after all, The Finder. My pride was having a difficult time, though. My pride hates it when he’s right. Even worse, my pride hates it when he rubs it in that he’s right (which does not serve to keep me from rubbing it in when I’m right). I really didn’t want to hear about how I should have listened to him, how I should have put the card somewhere (where????) I wouldn’t lose it.

Sigh. I sat back, pride all wilty and pathetic, and waited for the inevitable. I totally deserved whatever he gave me.

3. He didn’t take long. His reply?

“It’s pinned to the cork board in the kitchen. I didn’t want you to lose it.”

Have I ever mentioned that he’s the goods?

4. I went to Tam’s for lunch today. We were starving, so she began dishing up the tortilla soup right away. Instantly, I knew two things:

One- I had to take a picture of it for you.
Two- I would be making it for dinner, tonight.

P.S. It took me so long to set up this little iPhone pic that our soup had to be reheated.

P.P.S. Tam served our soup over rice, and I’m serving mine over Perfect Baked Potatoes.

While we ate we did that 100-miles-an-hour talking thing that happens with friends who don’t see each other often enough. When it was time to go, I realized my heart was in better shape than it had been when I’d arrived.

You’re the goods, Tam!

5. On the drive to Tam’s house (while stopped safely at the world’s longest stoplight), I received an email from Bobbi. I won’t even wait to tell you that Bobbi is

THE GOODS.

She is. God has blessed Bobbi with some amazing talents (I believe we’ve discussed this before, but I’ll say it again). Bobbi has talents that my talents have never even heard of. Bobbi’s talents probably shouldn’t even acknowledge my talents if they were walking down the same hallway. They would, though. They’re not snobby, Bobbi’s talents. Even though they so totally could be. Snobby, that is.

Heh.

So this email from Bobbi. Remember Bobbi? Yeah, so this email? It contains the brand-spanking-new banner for this blog. Have you seen it?? Seriously, people, check it out. If you have a minute, leave a comment telling Bobbi how beautiful it is.

Did I mention that Bobbi is the goods?

P.S. The Monkey is a little miffed that he didn’t make the banner.

6. I probably should have made that number 7. I don’t know if you people can hold on to number 5 long enough to remember to comment on it…

FYI-You people are the goods. Your collective memories? Not so much.

7. National Novel Writing Month is shaping up to be quite the experience. Did I tell you that God gave me the idea for this novel while I was in the shower? Yes, I know it sounds weird, but I’ve always done a lot of talking to God in the shower, so it seemed perfectly natural to me. Anyway, when this novel gets published, all y’all can carry your signed first editions around and tell people that not only were you on Team Karen for NaNoWriMo, but also that you just happen to know where she was when God gave her the idea.

Hey, God? You are the goods.

 

Random Thursday: NaBloPoMo

1. Today is the first day of November (in case you somehow missed that little piece of info). That means it’s the first day of my birthday month, and that means I need to relay to you the message I send Mel every November 1.

It’s the first day of my birthday month, please act accordingly!!!!!

Of course the result is that Mel showers me with gifts each and every day, with an extra-big gift on the day of my birth, alllllll month long.

He’s such a great daddy.

2. When I married the Wonder Hub, I let him in on the secret.

We’re still working out some glitches, but I am confident he’ll figure it out.

3. November first is also the first day of Blogher’s National Blog Posting Month, and instead of being miffed that they’re trying to horn in on my action, I’ve decided to join them. What this means, dear friends, is that instead of the blogging slacker I have been of late, I will be writing and posting here every single day, all month long.

You know, during my birthday month.

If you’re lucky, I’ll tell you all about the gifts Mel sends.

4. The Wonder Hub just used the phrase, “the cat’s meow” in an honest-to-goodness sentence. Isn’t that the greatest thing since sliced bread? Ten minutes ago I would have told you that all the great sayings of yore were going to hell in a handbasket, but now I’m convinced that I was being a wet blanket. I do have to admit that I looked at him like he was whistling Dixie when he said it, but I didn’t get all hot and bothered. You might think that I’m in cahoots with him, but don’t flip your wig! Take a gander at what I’m saying before you bust my chops, man. I’m afraid you’ll be tempted to run off at the mouth before you dig just how nifty this thing is. What’s that? You get it? Well, now you’re cookin’ with gas, my friend!

5. Speaking of favorite words and phrases, the Monkey absolutely loves the word vegetables. Often, he’ll walk around saying it to himself. He says it like this: veg-et-ables. Try it for yourself: Veg-et-ables. Say it slowly: veg-et-ables. Now say it fast: veg-et-ables.

You have to admit, it’s a pretty fun word.

6. No, the Monkey does not like veg-et-ables. Somehow, the fun just does not translate. I blame it all on his Grandpa Mel. I’m afraid that while the Monkey did not inherit Grandpa Mel’s Math Gene, he did get a healthy dose of his Ihatebroccoli gene.

We had steamed broccoli with dinner tonight. Do you know why?????

Because it’s my BIRTHDAY MONTH!!!

7. Number seven is always hard, because it tends to be the only thing you people remember. Just so you know, numbers one through six are mortally offended by this. Numbers one through six almost never receive comments. As a result, number seven has a big head. He’s no fun to be around.

Which makes me think of something from my childhood…..

When I was a child, I believed that each number (one through nine) was either inherently female or inherently male. Did anyone else do this? It was, perhaps, the very first instance of personification (a very necessary tool for a writer) in my mind. It is also (not even perhaps) my only teeny-tiny remnant of Mel’s big, fat Math Gene.

It was all so very clear in my mind. It went like this:

1 is a baby boy.

2 is a toddler girl. The terrible kind.

3 is a bratty boy, just past toddlerhood.

4, a boy. He kind of reminds me of my big brother. You know, the one who locked me out of the house?

5. Another boy, but more like a boy-man. I wouldn’t have known this as a child, but now I can see Moose as a five. 5 is a college sophomore. He’s still a kid, but is out stretching is wings, trying to see what he can see.

6 is a woman, and I mean wo-man. Even as a child, I knew she was trouble. 6 is sexy. She has long eyelashes, and she’s not afraid to use them. Fortunately, she doesn’t seem to have eyes for Moose, er, 5. He’s probably too much of a kid for her.

7 is a man. He is hopelessly, unrequitedly in love with 6. Always has been, always will be.

8 is the man 6 secretly loves. It figures, he’s the stereotypical bad guy that girls always go for. He likes to flex his muscles at 7. He knows 6 loves him and he loves to rub it in.

9. 9 is the matriarch. She’s pretty much fed up with the whole lot, with the exception of baby 1. Who can blame her? That baby 1 is adorable.

Poor Mel. I almost hope he misses this post. I can actually see him shaking his head. But seriously, Dad, think about it. Is it any wonder I could never learn my multiplication tables?