Do you read the local paper?

WKTnewlogoI am not a fan of most print newspapers. In my metro area, there is only one big newspaper, so if you don’t like the editorial bias, there are no real alternatives. I find that I can search multiple news outlets via the internet and provide a balance in the editorial biases more easily.

BUT…I always read the Webster-Kirkwood Journal. It may not be a terribly balanced piece of journalism, but it does represent the community where I grew up and currently live. And that means I have a stake in the news stories and the letters to the editor, and the complaints about dogs barking or the people who took the newspaper to locations far and wide and submitted their photos for their day of fame. And I also always read the obituaries…As I get older, there is a greater chance of seeing the name of a familiar person there.

I like to follow the news from the local school districts, the local politics and get a peek into who’s who and what’s what. I can even read the local police reports from the communities (that can generate a few chuckles depending on who writes the reports and how bored they were at the time…)

But honestly, there can be an awful lot of humor if you still have a sense of humor…

The top headline in this week’s paper,  including a large color photograph, was “Rallying To Protect Kids From Gun Violence.” The article highlighted the efforts of the Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice and their upcoming event at a local sculpture park over Mother’s Day weekend.

The issue of illegal gun ownership and use continues to be a problem, no matter which side of the gun debate you stand on. Honestly, with the exception of criminals who possess illegally obtained guns, I think most people don’t take issue with the need to remove guns from the criminals…

But I found an almost hysterical irony as I read through the paper when another  story focused on the Kirkwood Theatre Guild’s summer musical featuring the musical arrangements of a former classmate of mine: John McDaniel. That wasn’t the irony. The irony was in the name of the musical:

“Annie Get Your Gun.”

Seriously. I did not make this up. I am not that funny on my own.

http://www.websterkirkwoodtimes.com/Articles-Features-i-2013-05-03-186346.114137-Rallying-To-Protect-Kids-From-Gun-Violence.html

http://www.websterkirkwoodtimes.com/Articles-Features-i-2013-05-03-186364.114137-Annie-Get-Your-Gun.html

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“Those” Women

I am away from home for a few days, visiting family in California. It is an exciting time because my nephew is getting married TOMORROW–

12-2-12 at 2:22 PM…see anything special about those numbers?

Anyway, I had to take two flights to arrive here, leaving home at 4 AM. I know…way too early. I will share more in a different post about all the challenges I faced trying to be efficient getting through security. Major fail.

I was SO RELIEVED when I was finally seated on the plane…I had all three seats in my row to myself. Oh Joy!!! I began planning an immediate nap.

I settled in, followed along dutifully while the flight attendant explained how I should behave if the plane were to crash suddenly. Yeah, right.

The plane was quiet and dark. Perfect for a nap.

Except for “those women” seated behind me.

It was an elderly woman and her daughter, who seemed to be about my age or a little older. Apparently they had an awful lot they needed to discuss at 5:30 AM. In FULL VOICE.

“Charlie is awfully sweet, isn’t she?” said the elderly mother.

“Oh yes, she always SAYS the right thing,” came the slightly biting reply. “But she DOES whatever she pleases.”

There was a long conversation about a family trip to Disney World. Details I chose not to remember. But there was one over-arching theme that just kept recurring.

The mother kept trying to be positive and her daughter successfully countered every statement with something negative. After awhile, the two of them just shredded each person they discussed.

The mother had been dissuaded from her positive outlook and joined her daughter’s incredible negativity. It was actually almost heartbreaking for me to observe.

How easily we allow ourselves to join the baser side of situations when a little pressure is applied. What would have happened if the mother had confronted her daughter and gently suggested that she was a little bit too negative and maybe things weren’t as dark as she expressed?

How often are we swept into the negative frenzy rather that remaining like a rock that is unshakable? Are we like a tree whose roots are so deep that the tree can withstand any storm? Or do we topple at the first or second gust of wind?

I know women get a pretty bad rap for being gossiping, tale-telling beasts. It is not limited to women…just a reality check for my male readers.

There will be many opportunities during the holidays for people to be together and sharing stories…this would be a good time to prepare, in advance, for HOW you will approach “THOSE WOMEN (or MEN)” who try to steer every conversation into the  realm of the negative.

James 1:25-27

But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

I really don’t want to be one of THOSE women. I want to be one who reins in the tongue and devotes my efforts to looking after orphans and widows…and not being polluted by the world.

What kind of person are you?

Finally!

My daughter taught me to crochet about eight years ago. At the time, we lived in a condo, with a really pretty cottage-country bedroom. The quilt on the bed was very nice, one of those mass produced supposed to look handmade patchwork quilts.

It actually was quilted, pieced and all, just not that unique, but I really liked it. So I decided what we really needed to add the finishing touch to a really sweet room was an afghan laying at the foot of the bed.

So my NellyBelle taught me how to single crochet. If you read my last blog post you will remember my past as a perfectionist. When I began the afghan, I didn’t understand that the tighter the stitches, the harder it would be, the longer it would take and the more yarn it would need to fit my queen-sized bed.

And the first several rows of stitches have no spaces between them. NO AIR and NO LIGHT. Perfect if you live in Antarctica. I do not. I live in the swanky, humid, confused weather-patterned Midwest.

See those lovely, perfectionist stitches?
Clearly PRE-grandchildren…;)

We moved out of the condo. The lovely quilt became the guest room quilt and eventually fell apart. I experimented with many new color schemes, and eventually found the afghan in all its unfinished mess. I did a few rows and eased up on the stitches. It went a little faster, but I just couldn’t quite get the hang of the whole turning part. Or how to knot the skeins together when one ran out.

Starting to loosen up a little by this point…

I realized at some point that I really didn’t have time to finish it, so it got buried in a closet somewhere. Life has a funny way of forcing the readjusting of priorities and projects. No more of that Urgent-Important, Urgent-Unimportant, Not Urgent-Important or Not Urgent-Not Important quadrant stuff for making good use of time. Not in Nana Land, anyway.

NellyBelle has since married, finished her residency, had a baby, bought a house and made her own toys for her little guy. My afghan was still a sorry mess.

Meanwhile, Superman and I decided to dedicate a room to my sewing and crafting and dreaming and writing. While emptying out the entire room and closet, Superman found the incomplete afghan project. I decided it was way past due on finishing this thing. I had too much time invested in the crazy thing to just throw it away, and I wanted to at least finish it and be done. I attacked that afghan with gusto.

I loosened up on the stitches, and it actually made the afghan “feel” better–not so hot or heavy. I considered turning it into a dress, but realized I would be one long lasting hot flash, and the world is just not ready for that. Talk about global warming! (Now that I think about it, I think that global warming could almost certainly be attributed to how much longer women are living and how many hot flashes we are all contributing to the atmosphere. Maybe the scientists could come up with a healthy solution for that??? Like, TODAY?!?!?!)

Digressing…anyway, in the last three weeks, I have tackled the turning problems and the loose stitches, and how to join the yarn AND made up a finishing edge that doesn’t look bad. All things considered. I don’t know if it is even a legitimate stitch, but if it wasn’t before, it is NOW!

Don’t you just love the way I tripled the stitches to edge the thing?

So now I have an orange/brown/blue/cream bedroom. My living room is grey/green/blue/cream and the afghan is lavender/periwinkle/green/dk green/cream. Hmmmmm…

I think I am ready to start a SMALLER project now…

Don’t tell her, but I am giving it to my mom. She thought it was so pretty when she saw me working on it, and it will be just perfect for her when she gets a little chilly. I even made sure the loosened stitches wouldn’t let the toes sneak through. And my dad? Well, he can’t appreciate the colors but I would imagine she will share it with him too…

Contrasting the old on the right with the new on the left…sigh…so glad it is finally finished!

Cleaning Out the Closet…

Since my sweet husband has been away, I decided to use the time wisely by organizing his drawers and closet. You see, when he is HERE, he has this problem when the purging begins…

So I started with the easy part…the closet.

Let me just start off by saying in my defense that in my past, I was a confirmed perfectionist with very particular ways of folding, hanging, sorting, washing, line drying, organizing…You know, my way is the right way and there is no other way…

My husband is not color blind. He can see all colors.  My FATHER is color blind. He cannot see red, green, brown…or mixtures of these colors. So my FATHER has a legitimate reason if something is mismatched. My mother found socks with snaps so they don’t get separated in the drawer. Brown and tan in one drawer, blue and black in another drawer. You know, I learned my organizational skills from HER.

Nathan believes that if something is blue it always goes with anything else that is blue. All greens can be worn together. And he believes that since the rainbow doesn’t clash, neither do his clothes.

When he comes home at the end of the day and I realize that he went to work with mismatched clothes, he is always so surprised if I don’t think the combination worked. I ask him, “Have I ever put that combination together?”

And his response is always the same, “I thought I would try something new…”

That is now forbidden.

I asked him if he would like his shirts matched up with pants to help figure out what works…He wasn’t sure he could manage that. Really??? (I should note that when we first got married, he only wore navy or brown pants, no patterns, textures or variations. You wouldn’t believe how hard I had to work to get tan and gray added…)

So…back to the closet. I put all of his button shirts by color from white to black, left to right. Then his cold weather casual shirts and his light weight shirts. All following the same color pattern. His pants separate the current season of shirts from the warm season shirts. After all, we have been known to have sudden warm ups in the middle of Winter.

I like the order of the colors as they transition from light to dark. I like knowing that with the second button fastened I won’t have to worry about wrinkled shirts lying on the floor…I like knowing that with a quick glance it will be easy to put clean clothing away because it is so organized.

RIGHT. After all these years, I am still the only one who cares about the clothes being in any sort of order, the only one who actually thinks about where the clothes SHOULD be hung…the only one that recognizes that there actually IS a pattern…

And I also continue to be that slow learner that refuses to just give up and admit it’s hopeless…

And tomorrow, I will tell you all about the lessons learned from the sock drawers…

 

 

 

 

Changes

The season is changing here in the midwest. And I am very thankful, let me tell you! After the Winter that wasn’t, we had such an awesome Spring that changed into half of a great Summer. Unfortunately, Summer turned into the Drought/Heat Wave of 2012.

But NOW, the air is brisk. Leaves are changing color and beginning to fall off the branches. Acorns and black walnuts are falling off the trees. Squirrels are scurrying. I have enjoyed seeing several large flocks of migrating birds visiting my bird feeders here and there. It also means that the hummingbirds and butterflies have journeyed to their Winter homes down South.

I continue to coax a bit of life out of the garden…hoping for some color for a few more weeks. And am still awaiting the opening of the mums.

Yesterday…FROST on the windshields! It was so wonderful!

There is something about this season that I find absolutely INVIGORATING! Coffee is especially great on those cold mornings. Snuggling under the blankets (and not suffering from heat flashes) and actually having a fire in the fireplace. I love this weather.

It isn’t just the weather that is changing.

Froglegs has learned to READ! It is a special experience now at bedtime to hear him reading to his brother and sister. There are times that childhood changes are mixed with sadness at the loss of that baby sweetness, but I must say hearing a child learning to put letters and words together is something very, very special for this Nana.

I remember when my oldest child learned to read. Shopping for groceries suddenly took A LOT LONGER because she wanted to read every. single. sign. On each and every aisle, every time we went into the store. You could see the smiles on other parents’ faces…they knew exactly what was happening. Such pride in those first successes at reading.

And pretty soon we were struggling to keep up with her. She read every book she could lay her hands on. She sacrificed recess to work on her school work. It had to be PERFECT in her mind. You know how those perfectionists are, don’t you?

Eventually, all three of my children were reading. Some enjoyed it, others tolerated it. Even my oldest one eventually began to HATE it because reading changed from something almost magical into the whole “read a book, write a report” scenario, and the joy of reading was temporarily lost. For about 15 years…

But now, she is a mommy and reads to her own baby…continuing to see those developmental changes for herself. They live so far away, but it was so much fun to get to hear her when they visited us over Labor Day.

And every day, I now get to enjoy listening to Froglegs reading his stories to me, and trying to sound out the words. And even better, trying to read his original stories that he writes out on his fabulous drawings.

I guess, for me, this season of Fall/Autumn has always meant “school”…memories of learning and playing with friends and reading contests at school and gold stars on worksheets… The awesome changes that came from LEARNING new things…

And…since it is Fall, I am reminded that I continue to learn…just how awesome God is, how very blessed I am, and how thankful I should be…

I hope I never get tired of learning. Are you still learning?

Period

Can you imagine what it would be like to read a blog post without punctuation? No commas, periods, question marks, exclamation points?!?

My husband teaches high school Spanish. Spanish has its own quirky punctuation like the upside down exclamation points and question marks at the beginning of the line as well as the right side up corresponding punctuation at the end. But in both languages, periods go at the end of the sentence. Period.

So we discussed how one might effectively communicate the importance of the period. Hmmmmm…let me think on that…

So, in my twisted sense of thinking, I reminded him that girls should automatically know the importance of periods. And what a missing period might mean…

And since I had all my plumbing removed about 20 years ago, my life as been one super long run on sentence! Just ask my husband. He is still waiting for me to come up for air.

But back to the issue of punctuation. There are some very important reasons for using punctuation in all its glory. Apostrophes and dashes and quotation marks…they give clarity to the written piece. And thus avoids confusion.

The following should serve as a great example of punctuation’s importance on context:

Poor punctuation can ruin your love life.

Dear Peter, I have always admired a man who knows what love is all about. You are kind, generous and considerate. People who are not like you now admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn so much for your loving embrace. I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart. I can be forever happy- will you let me be?
All my love Sue

Dear Peter, I have always admired a man who knows what love is. All about you are kind, generous and considerate people, who are not like you. Now admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. So much for your loving embrace. I have no feelings whatsoever. When we are apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?
Sue

(http://www.writerscircle.biz/Contrib/Threads/370.aspx)

So the next time you think about your punctuation and how unimportant it is, just remember this terrible blog post about it and realize that I might just decide to write about spelling next!

America’s Next Top Model: Curly Top

Our resident diva is really going the extra mile these days. While her big brothers are still content to have their mom select their clothes each day, Curly Top has her own plan…

She begins each day in something…immediately after she awakens, she trades in her nighttime diaper for underwear and something new and “fashionable” like…a t-shirt that no longer fits her.

About five minutes after finally getting the shirt on with both arms through both sleeves, it’s time for her first mandatory wardrobe change…a new pair of her brother’s boxers. Not because she wet her pants, but…well…it’s just time for a change of color. Or pattern. Or superhero.

After fighting with her underwear, finally getting them on backwards and with both legs through ONE hole, she begins her tribal dance. Hollering and hopping in circles and flailing wildly.

I join in her dance and assist her in getting both legs through the appropriate holes and the tag on her backside.

“The tag goes on the butt,” she tells me. She also tells me that her poo poo goes in the potty, but that has absolutely no bearing on her actions in that regard.

A few minutes later she disappears only to reappear carrying a pair of her OWN little “boy short style” underwear and a dress. She successfully completes her wardrobe change independently.

She has managed to wear every single pair of her own underwear today. I think she has about 21 pair. She also wore at least 4-5 pair of her brothers’ underwear. When she ran out of clean ones, she started raiding the laundry. She seems to understand that one changes underwear daily. She just doesn’t understand that it is supposed to be ONLY ONE TIME DAILY!

And for a child who looks cute in her brothers’ boxers and briefs, she looks really adorable in all of her choices throughout the day. But honestly, she has more wardrobe changes than a highly paid runway model!

And just overheard during her last switch-out was one of her brothers yelling, “Run for your life! Vida!! Mom’s coming!!!”

I know. We laughed. And then one of her brothers decided to use a bra as a slingshot. You seriously cannot pay for this kind of entertainment. Oh wait…I do pay for it. I’m still laughing…