Saturday, February 28, 2009

.....tHe bReAKiNg POinT

Everyone has their breaking point and today I reached mine. Girl Scout Cookies. $4.00 a box. Yes I know, it's for a good cause. Yes, I know it isn't the fault of the Girl Scouts. I'm sorry, really I am. But I am not paying $4.00 a box, even for Thin Mints.

I was a Girl Scout in the 70's, and if memory serves (and it often doesn't) the cookies were $1.00 a box then. Fast forward to 1994, when I was pregnant. We bought a CASE of Thin Mints and kept them in the freezer. The perfect guilty pleasure for a person eating for two. I can't recall what they cost then. It seems they've been $3.00 for the longest time.

Upon leaving the grocery store today I walked past the card table with the girls and the mom. Imagine my horror when they told me the price. I said, "Weren't they $3.00 a box last year?" I was informed they were $3.50 last year. I didn't look, but I betcha the amount of cookies and/or their weight is less than last year too.

It's sad. Or maybe I am the sad one for posting about the price of Girl Scout cookies? They have joined the resized restaurant beverage glass, the smaller restaurant dinner plate, the half gallon of ice cream that no longer is. Come to think of it, this must REALLY bother me, because I posted recently about the one pound box of candy which is now 12 ounces. I find a great deal of symbolism in the shrinking of consumer goods. That must be it.

Friday, February 27, 2009

** Photo Opportunity **

Juneau provides me with endless photo ops. He's quite the ham, even when he isn't trying. For example, this picture taken last Sunday. He and Dad were enjoying some down time. That's Dad's arm you see at the top of the photo. If one wanted to, one could take a trip down the Twisted Highway and call this picture "After Glow." Not that I would...I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Sisterhood

Isn't the Sisterhood a beautiful thing? I am blessed to have a precious handful of the most incredible God fearing "sisters" in my life. Strong ties that never strain under the pressure of husbands or jobs or children. Yes indeed, the Sisterhood is a beautiful thing.

We need to support and empower each other! Sometimes offering an ear, or a tissue, or a bar of chocolate. Sometimes offering much more. Always cheering each other on, not to victory, but to the finish line. Following is the second half of one of those forwarded emails that makes the rounds every few months. These emails, and roaches: two things that could survive a nuclear bomb.

Women have strengths that amaze men.
They bear hardships and they carry burdens,
But they hold happiness, love and joy.
They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy
And laugh when they are nervous.
They fight for what they believe in.
They stand up to injustice.
They don't take 'no' for an answer when they believe there is a better solution.
They go without so their family can have.
They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.
They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel
And cheer when their friends get awards.
They are happy when they hear about a birth or a wedding.
Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member,
Yet they are strong when they think there is no strength left.
They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart.
Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you to show how much they care about you.
The heart of a woman is what makes the world keep turning.
They bring joy, hope and love.
They have compassion and ideals.
They give moral support to their family and friends.
Women have vital things to say and everything to give.
However, if there is one flaw in women, it's that they forget their worth.

This is your reminder ladies!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

~ A Sweet Little Story ~

Parenthood provides us with precious jewels in the form of memories. Some shine more brightly than others, and tonight I will share one of my favorites.

When my son Jacob (aka Cob) was about five years old, we were visiting the home of my then-boyfriend/now-husband, Geoff (aka Feff - yes, he hates being called that). Geoff and I were lying (or is it laying?) on top of his bed, watching TV. We each had our own pillow. It was completely proper. Jacob was in the living room, watching cartoons on the big TV.

The phone rang. And you know how little kids love to answer phones. Before Geoff could get to it, Jacob had the phone in his hand. Next thing you hear is Jacob saying, "No, he's lying down with Mama." Geoff took the phone and spoke with the person. Turns out it was the Portland Coast Guard station, calling to inform him they were leaving on a rescue call. They were required to notify him any time a boat left the dock.

Geoff came back into the bedroom, with a rather blank look on his face and shaking his head. I asked if the person on the other end was laughing. He said, "No, but I'm sure he was thinking....geez.....they let the kid watch?"

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Question of the Day * Parenting

Since there are no perfect people, it follows there are no perfect parent(s) either. I think we all try to pass along to our kids the good things our parents gave to us. I also think we try to put an end to certain other generational things that aren't so positive.

For me, I was determined not to criticize my son the way my father criticized me. I remember a conversation I had with his 4th grade teacher (she had also been his 3rd grade teacher). I was explaining my childhood and my goal of instilling in my son a healthy self-esteem. She told me, "Oh you don't have to worry about that. You have succeeded." It was said with just enough sarcasm to convey the feeling she thought I had 0verdone it. That's okay - better to err on the side of too much instead of not enough.

What do you do differently than your parents did? What one thing were/are you determined to change to make a better life for your child or children?

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Way....waaayyyy back in the day, I lived and breathed photography. I had a darkroom at home (thanks Mom and Dad), and my senior year I didn't need any credits so I spent my time being a TA in the Photo Lab. I'd bleed fixer - that's how much I loved it.

Then real life intervened, as it often does, and I had to get a job, get a life, etc. I still took pictures, just not as many as before. Until my apartment was burglarized and all my camera equipment was stolen. I wish I could remember if that burglary was why I stopped photographing things. All I know is I stopped, but deep inside that little light never went out.

Photography today is so not the same. I shot black and white, developed my own film, even rolled my own film. Back then the great photographers had talent. Nowadays all they need is Photo Shop. It isn't real, at least for me. It's like comparing real crab meat to the fake stuff. Digital and electronically enhanced this and that has its place of course. But I don't think it's art. You can "click here" and transform a color photo into a black and white one. Just ain't right.

Having said that, color pics are required when you sell online. I took the above photo this afternoon. I'm no Ansel Adams, but I'm happy with the setting and the composition. I'm also happy my light is still flickering.

Friday, February 20, 2009

**Friday Stuff**

Today was Homecoming at my son's school. The Varsity basketball team lost by two points. It was a great game though. A real cliff hanger. Now that basketball is over, life can get back to semi-normal around here.

I got a letter from my attorney - actually, a bill. They are in the process of obtaining all my medical records from 8/8/06 to now. Most providers require payment in advance before releasing records. I have 10 providers. The bill which came today was for almost $63.00 and that is only for two of the 10. The attorney says it is more prudent for their office to obtain my records, to be sure they are complete.

I know I will get this money back, but it irks me. All this time I have been paying my own co-pays for doctor visits, physical therapy, surgery, prescriptions, etc. It adds up. My PIP coverage was maxed over two years ago.

I guess "life" or "society" or maybe "the world" is just too big to evaluate people as individuals, on a case by case basis. I have zero fault in the accident and it seems like in cases like mine, the at fault party should have to cough up some money as the zero fault party goes through their treatment. As I said, it irks me.

Getting all this done, finally, is going to be a big relief for me. I won't get any better, but I will have closure. And I hesitate to say I won't get any better, because even though I've had excellent care, the true healer is God. I don't ask him to take the pain or the memories away. I ask Him to give me the grace to handle it better, believing His promise that all things work together for good.

Lastly, I added music to my blog. Personally I have never liked musical blogs. I have landed on far too many with my volume too high, and gotten quite the jolt. Truth be told, these are songs I love and can listen to over and over so I am doing it for me :).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

~ It's a Fine Art ~

My son returned home this afternoon, after being gone since Tuesday morning. Since I don't "do" the morning shift, the last time I saw him was Monday night. I missed him. Of course. Our conversation concerning that subject went like this:

Me: "I missed you."
Him: "I missed you too."
Me: "Did you really?"
Long Pause
Him: "To be honest Mom, I hardly thought of you at all."
Longer Pause
Him: "Mom....Mom...what's wrong?"

It's a fine art - knowing when to close your mouth. Especially with offspring who are as painfully honest at age 14 as they were at age four, when he told me (and about 40 other people waiting in a Kaiser urgency care facility): "Mama, if you can't find anyone to marry you by the time I grow up, I'll do it."

Monday, February 16, 2009


When you walk out your front door what do you see? I see a dark and confused world. Rarely do we see someone who does the right thing. There is one thing that can heal us, the love of Jesus Christ. We should, no we must, spread His word throughout our world.

Many people say no to Jesus because they are depressed and don't want to "deal with" God. When in truth it's God that will heal them. We need to try to help these people by being an example of God's love and mercy.

Also many people who are Christians turn away from Jesus because they face a difficulty in their lives such as a death, accident or anything that causes stress. They blame God, and in their anger, turn away. Job Chapter 1 is an example of this situation. We need to show and tell them that things happen in our lives to teach us and make us stronger.

Lastly, people look at Christianity as a set of do's and don'ts, instead of as a religion. People say that following Jesus just takes away freedoms. They need to realize that as followers of Christ we need to surrender the things of this world and take on the things of Christ.

What can we do to help? Our world is dark and will remain dark throughout the end times, there's no stopping that. What we can do is try to make it a little brighter. We, as Christians, need to invade our world and spread Jesus to everyone. With our lives set ablaze by Jesus, we need to spread His love, mercy and grace to mankind.

The above essay was written by my 14 year old son as an English assignment. I am always amazed (and humbled) by the depth of his faith. One strong pillar in this faith has been his education at a private Christian school. If you are a parent with a young child, and you are considering private school - take it from a mom who knows - and DO IT. No matter what material possession(s) you have to give up, what sacrifices you have to make - it is more worth it than I could ever explain. Not only is the word of God the number one priority at my son's school, the education he is receiving is so far ahead of the public schools it really is sad. In 7th grade he tested at 9th and 10th grade levels in every subject.

When I was four months pregnant I heard the voice of God. He told me "this child must be educated in Christian schools." I gave my promise, and in return God has always made a way for us, even when I was a struggling single mother, even now when business is down and the economy is shakey.

Find a way. You will not regret it.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

* Happy Cupid Day *

A dozen roses in the most beautiful colors of red, yellow and peach were delivered this afternoon, along with a card which read "You're still my Valentine." They were a total surprise. I am so blessed to have such a caring husband. I am often brought to tears just remembering all the kind things he has done for me.

This year marked my son's first year with an official girlfriend. He gave her one rose, a box of candy, a little heart pendant in a matchbox and a card. They spent the afternoon at a mega-mall in Portland which is half-way between her home and ours. Oh these long distance relationships can be a trial. I have not met the young lady, only spoken to her on the phone. She sounds so sweet and she just adores my son. How precious young love is.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cookies, a Swap and a Cold

My Bits and Baubles swap package arrived today. Serena in New York sent it to me. She was very, VERY generous. The wrapping on the box itself is gorgeous. I opened it from the bottom so I could photograph how pretty it is. My package will leave tomorrow as tomorrow is the deadline and why do anything ahead of time. Sigh.

Hubby went to the store today and got five Betty Crocker cookie mixes for $1.50 total. Also five icings for $3.90. I won't bore you with the rest of it. I get on these couponing kicks for a few weeks and then I taper off. But with today's economy it's not a luxury any longer. I do enjoy the challenge and the feeling of accomplishment.

It's cold here, like it could snow any time now. Speaking of cold, one arrived today with my name on it. I blame my husband, who had it a week ago. He says a lot of people have it. Not that it matters where you get the cold. I am not a good sick person. It drives me insane to just lie in the bed. Hubby, not so much. He isn't a whiny sick person, but he stays in bed. I think a lot of how you feel is in your head, and I deal with pain everyday so a cold isn't any big deal. Of course I'll log extra sack time when I need to, but that's about it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Change is Good

I happened to come across the blog of a family who makes it a point to look for change (and paper money too of course) anytime they are out and about. Finding this blog coincided with my husband showing me $.83 he had picked up in various parking lots while in the midst of working his part-time job.

We now have a jar to chronicle and keep our finds. I think it will be fun. A lot of people blog daily about what they find. I don't see myself doing that, but I will keep my eyes on the ground from now.

Here is the link to the change finding family blog:

Monday, February 9, 2009

Let's Go Shopping with Me

Here is the roundup from yesterday's shopping trip at Safeway (not known for grocery bargains). They do occasionally offer a $10.00 off coupon, if you spend at least $50.00. I also had Safeway coupons for milk and the chicken. I had one manufacturers coupon for the foil, and that's because I haven't been getting the Sunday paper lately...tsk tsk.

1-1/2 lbs. grapes
1-3/4 lbs. asparagus
1 medium onion
10 lb. bag of potatoes
1/2 lb. deli turkey breast
1 lb. fresh salmon fillet
4 lbs. frozen chicken breasts
8 lbs. London Broil
1 pkg Sara Lee bagels
1 loaf buttermilk bread
1 pkg. hot dog buns
1 12-oz. pkg. Velveeta slices
1 8-oz. pkg. Kraft shredded 4-cheese mix
1 8-oz. cream cheese
1 dozen eggs
2 gallons low-fat milk
1/2 gallon Dole peach/mango/orange juice
1 roll 75 ft. Reynolds foil
1 pkg. paper napkins
1 pkg. 8" flour tortillas
1 bottle Powerade sports drink
1 8-pack diet Coke
1 15-oz. container breadcrumbs
1 pkg. Pop Tarts
1 12-pack grape soda
1 pkg. Cheetos Twists
2 pkgs. Cheetos puffs
1 pkg. Cheetos crunchy
1 16-oz. bottle Kraft salad dressing
2 boxes Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal
5 boxes Betty Crocker assorted cake mixes
5 containers Betty Crocker assorted icings

Total Spent = $81.32

Considering the fact I got 13 lbs. of beef/chicken/fish, I think I did very well. Normally I would not buy five boxes of cake mix/icing. But...all 10 ended up costing $8.00, or $1.60 per cake not counting your eggs or oil.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

~ Pretty

I listed this little pendant and gift box set in my Etsy shop tonight. It's really tough to photograph these pendants, especially when Etsy makes them 1000 pixels square. That's a huge image for a small item.

I love the way this turned out. It's just pretty. Not much else you can say, but quite often pretty is enough.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Saint Story

My husband is a saint. Ask anyone who knows him and/or me. They will tell you it's true.

We are polar opposites. I envy his calm demeanor. He says 20 plus years in the Coast Guard made him that way. I think he came out of the chute that way. That was rather gross, but I do adore that expression. I am very blessed to have such a wonderful husband. Blessed, and amazed to be honest. It is wonderful 99% of the time. There are the occasional days when it's a lot of pressure though. Life with a saint magnifies the faults of the non-saintly partner. Like when I am totally losing it because the filter on his salt water tank is making screeching noises, and I get him out of bed at 2:00 am to fix it. Within 30 seconds he is up, pants on, heading down the hall. He fixes the problem, tells me he loves me, and goes back to bed. I am left feeling like a shrew. It must be my own guilty conscience, right?

Our son will be away this weekend, and hubby just informed me that it's my weekend and whatever I want to do, we'll do. I said "what do you mean, shopping wise or sex wise, what?" He said "whatever you want." I said "what if I want to spend a few hundred dollars?" and he replied, "then that's what we'll do." I am not surprised that he is doing this (saint, remember) but I am still in shock at the sweetness of his offer.

This man is my Prince Charming. I have a crush on him that would put any teenager to shame. He is my protector and my solid rock in a stormy sea. He's the head of the household and I respect him because he's a man worthy of respect. I wish everyone could know the joy of a marriage based on Biblical principles. All the pieces fit together so perfectly. And why wouldn't they? Look who the designer was.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

* Question of the Day *

Do you have a favorite I Love Lucy episode?

Here is mine, and tell me if you remember it. When Ricky and Lucy and Ethel and Fred are driving to California, and find themselves at this broken down motel. The owner put misleading signs on the highway to "trap" weary travelers.

They are served rubber sandwiches in the coffee shop, and then check into the only available cabin. It's the only one available, because it's the only one they have. Both couples go about their nighttime routine and my favorite scene is Ethel tucking Fred into bed. It had a huge divet in the middle. And then....the train comes through! It was a classic.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

It's a Small World

....and getting smaller all time. Today my husband bought me a box of candy. Not the exact box pictured, but one very similar. This box USED to contain one pound of candy. Not anymore. It now contains 12 ounces. That is 25% less than before. Notice the shiny gold divider "thingey" separating each piece?

Below is a photo of how the box used to look, back when it contained a pound of candy. No divider necessary - there would not have been room. With the divider though, they are able to keep the same box size. I guess they figure we won't notice we are paying the same price for 25% less candy.

Every time I go grocery shopping I notice another one, or two or more products which have shrunk. I find it very unsettling but I don't know why. I don't mean financially unsettling, I mean from a security standpoint. I am bracing myself for the carton containing 10 eggs, or the three-quarter gallon of milk. I would rather just pay more. All of this changing of sizes messes with my head. I can just see the execs in their board rooms, plotting strategy and charting their bottom lines. Sales has always been all about the psychology. I swear it's worse now.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sleeping Around, and a Great New, to me, Blog

I find that many couples do not sleep in the same room. This kind of thing was horrific to me in my 20's. What a cold, sterile relationship it must be, to sleep apart. I learned from a very reliable source that 90% of the time, it's the woman who ends up hitting the couch. AND, it's the man who feels hurt and abandoned. Please don't take it personally men. Women don't mean it personally. Women just need to get some decent sleep. And it's not like we are missing any quality time with you.

We are in separate rooms now, because of sleep incompatability. I got a twin bed for my office/studio room, and he stayed in the king size bed. That would be fine, were it not for my permanently tweaked neck and shoulder. A while back we purchased a memory foam bed. You've seen their commercials....welcome to bed. Let me tell you the bed is everything they say it is, and more. I miss it. My shoulder misses it.

Soon we will begin the process of flip flopping the rooms. After a career in the military, he can sleep anywhere. It takes an act of Congress for me to get to sleep. I'm difficult, I admit it. I am grateful to have a bed at all. To have a warm home and a son and husband who love me. So part of me feels terrible asking for the memory foam bed back. But the part which is cranky, tired and sore is stronger.

Kay over at The Rustic Cottage (on my sidebar) sent me the link to a very neat blog. A single gal homesteading on a farm in Vermont, with her dogs and assorted farm animals. She has two Huskies and being a huge snow dog fan, I really enjoyed reading about her adventures. She wrote a book too! You can check it out at

Please take a moment and say a prayer for Mary, who recently lost her beloved Malamute, Meeko. Corresponding with Mary has given me a glimpse into what life was like with a normal Mal. Ours is special needs - and we meet them, I promise.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

** Little Nuggets of Trivia **

I think we all possess knowledge that isn't widely known, or thought about, or cared about. Nonetheless we know things and when we tell other people these things, the other people say "hmmm, I did not know that." I enjoy knowing odd things. It's one of the few times I get to hear my husband say "you're right."

My nugget today concerns dentists, and why some are DDS's while others are DMD's. Both mean exactly the same thing. DDS is doctor of dental surgery and DMD is doctor of medical dentistry. Which three letters the dentist receives is totally dependent on the college he or she attends, and how they choose to do it.

Would you share a little nugget of trivia with me? Sounded a bit like Mr. Rogers there, didn't I?