Saturday, June 30, 2007

hair again!




i got my hair recut, and repinked, and The Girls & Curtis got pink! he is such a good dad!



















...and this is why..

these girls, cousins, having wild and crazy fun is the reason that all tuesday's insanity is worthwhile...


and this is what makes it worthwhile for curtis... :) (he asked me to mention that this is a meager pike, shameful really, unworthy of a picture, and that he'll do much better next time. woe is him.)



Friday, June 29, 2007

memory lane


this is the alley behind my old house where i rode my bike, first got flashed by a 10 yr old boy, caught fuzzy caterpillars and played indians with my friends...we even had full headdresses of magpie & bluejay feathers. ahhhh - those were the days. out in the morning, back for supper - lunch wherever we landed in between. mom didn't have to worry about not seeing me all day, because small prairie towns were safe, and neighbors kept an eye out.


this is the house of my childhood - 19 glory hills road. of course, my parents never put a fridge on the front porch, or used a sheet for a curtian...and mom did her standard lovely yard puttering... i remember it much bigger, of course, and the street much longer, but this is where i used to live. it was even the same color.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

i am ME again!!


OH - OH - OH!! I cannot tell you how marvellous i finally feel again!! (and for the record, my t-shirt says "i'm his because he appreciates perfection" oh, the irony!)











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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

ghosts

i don't think i've mentioned before that the small town curtis' parents live in is the town i grew up in. in fact, their backyard fence runs along my elementary school yard. this is the town where i was a wild girl in a wonder woman swimsuit riding a bxm bike at full speed. this place is full of the ghosts of my childhood. it's interesting to come back here ... but it's not my home anymore. i love to walk past my childhood home (maybe i'll post a picture tomorrow) and the fields i played in, but this isn't where my heart lives anymore.

and now i am going to bed. :)

..and if it doesn't warm up, i won't have a thing to wear!


OH. MY. GOSH.

You know, really, it’s a lesson in prayer. We, and our peeps, have all been praying so hard for our return to the US & our visa renewal, that everyone forgot to pray that we’d get OUT of the dang country!!

So… first of all, in all of our vast and varied conversations with the department of state, customs and border patrol, and USCIS, no one mentioned that The Girls would need passports. So we were turned away at the ticket counter, because they didn’t have them. Then, we had to call our friend John back to the airport, and while he returned, Curtis got directions to the closest postal office, where we could apply for passports for them – having been told that a receipt for said passport would be sufficient. That would be the first $200. Beautiful.

Obviously, we missed our first flight. So Curtis called the airline to rebook, only to be told that because it was so close to the flight time, we would have to go the airport. So we returned to the airport. Only to be told that the airport couldn’t do it, because it wasn’t a “real” Air Canada counter, and we needed to do it over the phone. Beautiful.

So, we went home. And Curtis talked to the airline the whole way home. They said there were NO flights for 4 days, and that our return flights were now invalid, because we had missed the first leg of the trip. After begging and pleading with a supervisor, he got our return flights reinstated, and a later flight for our first leg (Raleigh to Toronto), but was told there were no available “airmiles” flights from Toronto to Edmonton so we would have to find our own flights. That would the second purchase of the morning (needfully & thankfully sponsored by my mother-in-law!) … $1524. Beautiful.

At the post office, we were told that along with our passport receipts, The Girls would need birth certificates. I happened to have them, since I assumed that’s what they would need to cross the border, but they were mailed off with the applications. So at home, I found the duplicate of Meg’s, but not Kyra’s. Of course. So, we requested a duplicate online from the Florida Vital Statistics webpage, with a rush, delivered to our “vacation” address…for the low, low price of $52. Beautiful.

But, with a photocopied birth certificate (that we stopped on the way back to the airport to get notarized, in an effort to make it look less like we forged the damn thing), 2 receipts of passport, 2 expired visa’s stapled to valid passports, and more “e-tinerary” copies than I could possibly describe, here I sit, in the Toronto airport…through customs safely, waiting for our last flight, which will get us in 6 hours late, but get us there none the less.

There was one single, shining moment in my day:

They needed a volunteer to switch seats on our flight out of Raleigh, and they offered a free alcoholic beverage in return. Needless to say, I volunteered.

Monday, June 25, 2007

it's finally here

well, here i am. it's "canada eve". we are (mostly) packed, and have 3 packets of paperwork squirreled away in our luggage (in case a piece gets lost), and so - on a wing and a prayer, literally, we are going on "vacation". our friends came over tonight to get 'cat care' directions, and jaya said, "this better be the best vacation you've ever had!" and then she laughed. :)

i will posting our canadian adventures (is that an oxymoron?), and have even packed my digicamera for pics! i know you can't wait! ha!

adios!

out for real!

hey! jordan's book is finally on amazon.com! hooray! go buy it! :)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

best sunday ever

so i skipped "church" and had Church with Dennis out on the highway this morning...

you do know, don't you, that God can be found on a sunday morning outside of the walls of a building, right? like maybe down the road, on a harley...when you lift your arms over your head like a little kid, just to feel the air rushing over you; when you close your eyes and feel the motion of the road & wind; when you spot a doe & fawn in the bushes... it was impossible to feel anything but a giggle in my heart! under my big helmet i was grinning from ear to ear.

thanks, Dennis. i needed that this morning, more than i knew. one of the best sunday's ever. and thanks, Tracey, for sharing your sweet hubby with me for an hour! you guys rock.

i am going to learn to ride a bike when i get home from our trip...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

sure signs that i'm losing it...

  1. tears in my eyes no less than 4 times
  2. turning it up because "hey! i like this song!"
  3. humming along and making up the words
  4. actually knowing the words, by the time i was driving home.
  5. thinking to myself, "why is everyone so down on country music? this is good stuff!"

on a completely different note - you have got to see this!

Friday, June 22, 2007

that darn radio

you know, i know some of the best people in the world. and i don't just know them, but they are actually a part of my life, and i get to be a part of theirs. i have to drive to west virginia again tomorrow to pick up meg (stay with me here) and it got me thinking about driving last weekend, and the country music on the radio. i remembered this song called, "you find out who your friends are"...and the lyric in the chorus goes something like, "you find out who your friends are/somebodies gonna' drop everything/run out and crank up their car/never stop to think what's in it for me/or that's way too far/ you find out who your friends are" i have a substantial list of people who would do that for me...and i would do it for them, too. my life is an embarrassment of riches in the friendship department. and i am grateful. i love you, guys.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

a whole lotta nothin'

good morning!

today is the last full day in our week of freedom - a week without The Girls. this week i have...

  1. cleaned their rooms like demons - not a fun thing to do, but very needed & triumphant!

  2. seen 3 movies - spidey 3, hollywoodland, knocked up/fantastic 4 (i went with girls, he went with boys)

  3. had lunch at a swanky restaraunt - no prices on the menu!!

  4. had lunch with friends

  5. had dinner out with friends

  6. going for dinner out with friends tonight again

  7. slept in

  8. napped

  9. not cooked meals

  10. read a whole novel by my favorite author

  11. laid out in the sun

  12. walked, spur of the moment, with my friend

  13. answered approximately 117 phone calls from Meg - who was taught which number was speedial to mommy's and told to call any time. she never has anything to say, but she is commited to keeping in touch. (reminds me of me and my brother, with me in the role of "meg"....the poor boy)
  14. did a LOT of nothing! no groceries, no vacuuming, no cleaning (apart from monday), 2 days with no shower....

it has been the most relaxing week ever. and i am going to "suck the marrow" from this, my last day.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

HOORAY!

You can buy my brother's book of poetry, "Death by Love at First Sight", here! and the shipping is free inside the US!! HOORAY!

i am proud to say that i am the first person to ever buy a copy of his first book. am i the greatest sister, or what?!?! :)

happy wednesday!

a little reminder

i started feeling nervous about our visa's again today - one week til we leave. and then, i saw a tiny, baby bunny - no bigger than the hollow chocolate ones you get at easter - while i was walking the dog, and then a red fox trotted right past my chair as i laid around outside this afternoon in my backyard! those of you who know me well know what that means... and how much i needed to be reminded of it.

thanks, God!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Friday, June 15, 2007

RAKI IS MY HERO!

many thanks to Raki - who sent me the link i couldn't find! here is your proof - drink wine for flatter abs!! thank you, Raki!

random gatherings from my road trip today -
  1. there's not much radio to listen to between west virginia & north carolina but country stations (my truck doesn't have a working cd player), and i finally heard "check you for ticks" and now i know what all the fuss is about! gotta say, i laughed out loud, and it *almost* made me want to buy the cd!
  2. driving in flip flops for 8 hours is not fun. my feet hurt. my calves ache. next time, real shoes.
  3. driving in pea soup fog is not fun, either. i travelled SEVENTEEN miles in SIXTY minutes. i could have gone faster, but traffic was a bi...well, you know...

happy friday!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

aw, man....

those of you who know me personally know that i have a wee bit of a girl crush on angelina jolie. she is (clearly) gorgeous, but she also puts feet to her words, and lives "out loud". she is who she says she is, whether you like it or not. she is not always the sanest apple in the basket, (billy bob, anyone?) but none the less - she has talent and guts, and i've nutured my crush for a long time. she has made me shake my head many times, but this is something i never thought i'd have to shake my head at her for.


the curvaceous, robust & strong woman i used to admire (who didn't think she had a killer figure in "mr & mrs smith", or even "lara croft", if you must) seems to have joined 'the lollypop guild' - various tartlets & starlets with the "head on a stick" body type, living the weightloss lifestyle to everyone's detriment. oh, angie - why? you are better than this. i am saddened by this turn of events. and i am sick of every beautiful woman turning into this! who said that sticks are sexy? why? i could go on here - i have an entire soapbox rant at the tip of my fingers, but i will leave it at this for now, and save my ire for another day.

oh, angie.

enough already!

...and that's enough about the children...

so, one of my very favorite books by one of my favorite authors is being made into a movie! "stardust" by neil gaiman is a "fairytale" i suppose, but it is the anti-fairy tale in terms of storytelling... there is nothing predictable or formulaic. the thing i love about him, (he wrote one of my all time favorite books, 'neverwhere'), is that he doesn't just insert fantastic (in the sense of being a fantasy) tales into our world, but is able to fully create a world that is ours, yet is fully not, for his stories to unfold in. best of all, he doesn't imagine himself into a corner, if you know what i mean. his books are completley outside of reality, but completley believable...and as someone who is not usually fan of his genre, i can tell you they are very well told!

such is the story of 'stardust' - a fiercely told story of a gentle boy trying to prove his love through a quest to find a fallen star. it's tricky, though, when a book gets made into a movie, especially a book you love and have read a half dozen times! i saw the preview and thought, "oh boy - neil gaiman must be ticked! that doesn't look like it's anything like the book!" but then i read the article on msn, and he quite loves it! so hopefully it's a case of the trailer skewing things to be more "intriguing"...

maybe you should see the movie - you should definitely read the book! :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

keepin' it real - part II

so, yesterday we talked about the glories of being a stay at home mom. today, how about the non-glories? my every desire is subjugated to the needs of 2 other human beings, who very rarely are in tune with what i am hoping for. for instance, until they started school, i had not showered, peed, made dinner, read a book, sent an email, played a game, ate my lunch, vacuumed, driven or closed my eyes without The Girls "needing" me for something. That was EVERY DAY FOR EIGHT ENTIRE YEARS. as a non-mother friend told me yesterday, after her first day of nannying, "wow - they really require your focused attention all day! it was exhausting!" yes, you are correct. even now, my "effective hours" are limited to school hours.

then you have the disdain of people around you... "you stay home?" i can't tell you how disheartening that is. it is another wound everytime someone makes a derisive comment. i blow it off with, "well, it would be illegal for me to have a job, since i only have a spousal visa." but it still hurts, right at the very heart of who i am. so right now, moment of truth out loud: i want to be here for my girls. even if i could work, i would choose a happy little part-time job, because my husband & i place a high value on having a parent at home for The Girls. (For the record - i know this is a luxury; that there are families who need both parents' income. i am not making any sort of statement against that!! i am just telling it how it is for us.)

the flip side of that coin is the occasional fear that i am wasting my life & my gifts/abilities/intellect. when i am objective, i see the things i do with my life - volunteering, my involvment at church, the freedom i have to help my friends, and not least of all the way i am able to raise my girls because i am here - are not wasted or thrown away. and i will only be 42 when Megan is 18, and that is a lot of life left. not to mention the options to study while they study, or working when they are older. much of this feeling comes from the aforementioned "looking down the nose" that stay at home moms find themselves faced with.

also, there is the whole "competitive mom" thing. but i feel like i've already been very clear on that subject in this forum.

so be nice to stay at home moms, ok? they've got more going on than you know - both internally & externally - and they willingly put aside a lot of their own dreams and plans to try to raise up human beings who will make the world better. it's a scary thing, and we deserve a break.

nuts!

i swear i was flipping through msn yesterday and saw an article titled something along the lines of "5 surprising tips for flat abs" which listed one of them as drinking wine - specifically, 20 glasses/month! they even quoted a national research institute! i just spent 15 minutes looking for it on their site, searching vain, so i could prove it to you! grr! stupid msn!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

keepin' it real, ya'll

This is an excerpt from an email i sent my brother yesterday, while he was hard at work in his cubicle. lots of stay at home moms fill the ether with "this is so hard!" - and they aren't lying. there is a lot of sacrifice involved - from the one income thing (not very fun) to the lack of privacy and freedom. but then, there's this. i just want to be sure we're keepin' it real...

"Man… what a long, hard day. I think I may to have to lie down on the couch. I have really overdone it…I made a pie, I had some iced tea…phew! All the pressure & stress – really, it’s more than one person should have to bear. I was going to try to shower later, but if I have to squeeze one more thing into my day, I think I’ll explode! And the poor Girls! Forced to play outside, catching bugs and playing in the pool…what kind of life is that for a person? Especially a young one? If only I had a job in a fluorescently lit office somewhere, and they could be in some sort of daycare program - at least it would be something. But this? This is what our life has become?"

after i sent it, i strung up my hammock and laid in it while the girls set out "food" for the squirrels and drew on the driveway with chalk. i cannot tell a lie - it's a good gig, if you can get it.

Monday, June 11, 2007

look! look!


look! look! this is my brother's book! it will be available at Barnes & Noble, as well as amazon, in a mere 48 hours! FOURTY-EIGHT HOURS! i couldn't be prouder, or more excited...it is a really great book! above all, through all the subjects & meters, it will make you feel. and that is a true gift. go order it - preferrably from your local B&N - and you can all tell me how much you love it, so i can tell Vince! :) you go, baby! i love you!

a whole new world

my daughter is going to "sleep away" camp this summer - how fun! i loved camp as a kid - canoeing, riflery, archery, kayaking, fire building, boy chasing - i did it all. it was glorious. i just got her detailed information on what to pack, et al, and there was a section of 'what not to bring'. bear in mind, these are 9 & 10 year old kids. this list included, but was not limited to, electronic gaming devices, cell phones & ipods. does no one else think this is a crazy statement of our world? i mean, when i was 10, luxury was a bmx bike and a saturday with the sun shining and nothing to do but ride around. maybe it's just me, but i don't think my girls need to be "plugged in" to get the most out of their childhood. i mean, technology is useful and entertaining, and i have nothing against it, don't get me wrong. i love my mp3 player and my laptop. but i would rather plug my girls into the backyard or a pile of construction paper & scissors than a gameboy or an ipod. maybe that makes me Old School. and you know what? i am ok with that. because today they are on the porch, trying to make a birds nest out of mud and twigs, and i just heard Kyra say, "wow - you can do a lot without using anything manmade!" i love that.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

i hate that song

i heard a song on the radio today that wrecked my whole afternoon. i don't often listen to country music, but it's on one of my presets and get's pushed 4th, if my top 3 aren't playing anything good. so it was that i pushed the country button, and heard a song called 'tough', where the husband is celebrating the virtues of his wife - last one to bed, first one up, making breakfast, driving kids all over, working out, stopping at the store, meeting him at the door with a smile, never showing it if she feels a wreck, overcoming breast cancer without ever complaining or worrying - and by the time the song was done, i was, too.

i am a wife. and i do those things... sometimes. but more often that not, my husband gets up with the girls to make breakfast, because i am not a morning person. i get up once all the toast is on the table, and sit with The Girls, but i have a hard time figuring out the toaster before school. there are days i do not greet my husband at the door with a smile. from time to time, i feel like a wreck, and Curtis usually knows when i do. so does the bagger at the grocery store. i would worry and cry, with occasional bouts of courage and strength, if i were to be diagnosed with breast cancer. that song made me wonder why anyone would love me, if those were the standards to which wives & mothers are held.

how can i compete with that idea of what a wife/woman should be? where are the songs celebrating a woman who is like me? warm & funny, mercurial & head strong, vibrant & curious - a girl who falls apart sometimes, gets scared sometimes, laughs til she cries but has been known to just cry, feels overwhelmed, loves her friends and family but sometimes just wants them to leave her alone? a girl who can be very brave, but only when she tries really hard. who lives that stepford life? who is that stepford wife?

i hate that song.

Friday, June 08, 2007

200!

wow! i just saw that this is my 200th post! a milestone, to be sure... i didn't know if i would like blogging, or if i would keep it up, but hey! look at me! the big 2-oh-oh!

today is the last day of school. and in honor of it, i was field trip mom...again. and i think i got a little sunburnt, but hey - it's the last day of school! hooray! some parents don't love the last day, but i do. i love the not having to make lunches or "get up and at 'em" in the morning. i love hanging out with The Girls, and having freedom to come and go as we please. to be sure, there are downsides...but they are outweighed by the good. and this summer we are busy beavers! our first sleep away camp, a trip to Canada, a visit to KY and one to my brother in OR... phew! school will be back before we know it! so i if you don't find me online, i am definitely in the backyard in my swimsuit, drinking soda through a straw and getting some sun while the girls play outside around me. life is good.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

sexy time


some of you will remember the turtle porn we were witness to when we first moved in to our new home ....
i am pleased to announce a first time viewing - just now! - of squirrel porn! the important thing to realize here is that we have hundreds of squirrels all over our front & back yard...we have seen them fall from branches, build nests, try to get up our bird feeder, hang upside down, eat crumbs off the deck...but i have never seen squirrel sex! until today! hooray! it's a sign, people...it's going to be a good day! interesting to note that while only 2 squirrels were actually having sex at the time, there was definitely a small audience, perhaps 3 or 4, watching. huh.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

words to live by

"We are all worms. But I do think that I am a glow worm."

- Sir Winston Churchill

let freedom reign

shhhh - do you hear it? listen very closely.... it's the sound of an empty house! hooray! after 6 nights & days, and a morning of chaos, my home is empty & quiet. and messy, but we aren't going to worry about that today. that will still be there tomorrow, or at least later on today. the week wasn't horrible ... but it was long, and it took a lot out of me. it just doesn't come naturally to me...but if we all only did what came "naturally", the world (and our lives!) would be a mess!

happy wednesday to you all!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

bursting, bursting!

today is a big "family" day - meg has her in class graduation 'ceremony'; my baby is done first grade! how did that happen?? and tonight is the performance of kyra's class play, in which she is 'Teacher 2 - the cool teacher everybody likes'. needless to say, she is very proud of that! :) these kind of days really me feel like a "mom"...some days i don't feel very mom-ish at all, but there's no denying all the swirling, "my baby is growing up!" and "oh, look at how well she recited her lines" pride! i am a proud mama! there's just no denying it!

Monday, June 04, 2007

monday

saw a deer in the yard just now...

baby blaise is being remarkably good for a 2 year old...

curtis is a lovely, lovely boy....

talked to jordan & mark this morning...

jordan's book comes out this week! go order it from barnes & noble - 'death by love at first sight' by j.vincent elliott

i will get a nap this afternoon....

the week is starting off on a good note!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

this is what love looks like...


love looks like a friend showing up at my door for no reason with an armful of roses, on a day that just so happened to be the very day i needed it most.

love looks like my husband helping me by wrangling 3 children into cleaning 3 rooms so messy i started to cry, and then going out for milk.

love looks like my brother offering me his airmiles to make a trip out to see him.

love looks like a friend using his connections to make my lifelong dream of anthem singing come true.

love looks like friends asking me about mark, and my trip, and entering into my joy with wide smiles and genuine interest.

love looks like my mom "singing my song" to me on the days when i have forgotten the words.

love looks like a hug from meg, with the words, "i'm sorry you are sad, mommy".

love looks like friends saying 'sure!' when i ask if they can watch The Girls for me, even for whole days at a time, when they all have their own lives full of craziness.

love looks like friends asking if they can come over after work just to listen to us, and pray for our immigration visas.

love looks like an email from someone who saw that i was not myself and cared enough to ask.

love looks like luaskya, casey, shanna, sabrina, curtis, jordan, mark, steve, marilyn, andrew, john, jaya, joey, brandy, sarah, meg, kyra, tracey, dennis, tamar, jennifer, leah, krii...and so, so many others. you fill my life with love. and i wanted you to know that i saw it, and am grateful for it. i love you, too.



Friday, June 01, 2007

it's been a long time since i changed diapers everyday..

happy friday, everyone!!

i am trucking around for the next 5 days with my 2 year old nephew... keep your fingers crossed for me! :)