Saturday, December 27, 2008

We Could Have Stayed Home and Played Wii....

It began like this. Ideal. Beautiful. Serene. Exciting.

It ended like this. Sad. Worrisome. Painful. Depressing.

Freak accidents happen, and this was one. He was on a run he normally could handle just fine, because he's such a strong little skier! I don't think this will squelch his confidence in the future. I'm sure he'll never forget this Christmas!!!!

Luckily, we were with my ENTIRE family, so I think the attention he got from ten female cousins, two sisters, a brother and two male cousins MIGHT have made
"Tiny Tim" feel better.

God Bless us, Every One!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Nutcracker Week + Finals Week = Tears

Next semester, I'm really thinking about being "nice," and just putting ten questions on each test. They'll be worth 30 points each.... Fill-in-the-blank.

"Excuse me doctor, could you put some Diet Coke in an IV for me?"

I've been eating chocolate like a starving puppy dog. I realize I'll be sick from it, but I don't care!

On the bright side, I'll be skiing a week from today.

I came out of that cozy cave. "Mommy, mommy, the light scares me!"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Personal Epiphany

The indoor expedition due to a snow day = a great discovery.

Get out your flashlight and your spelunking gear. We're going to take a walk into the deep caverns of my mind. It's a little murky in impenetrable darkness. But over the last two days, I've been able to chase away the bats.

Here's my personal epiphany:


I'm not sure I've ever fully accepted that fact. I now I accept that I'm not an insane or incompetent domestic goddess. Things are a LOT easier to keep up with when I am...HERE...!

***I'm just extremely busy***

Thank you, snow day. Your icy frigid storm drove me into the cave. It's cozy in here.

Friday, December 12, 2008


This is for you!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Simplicity With a Side of Sentimentality

There is nothing like a simple Christmas. For the past few days, I've been reading "Mary's First Christmas" to the Littles before bedtime. As we read, we get to take in the aroma of our Christmas tree and bask in the radiance of its glow.

This weekend, we purchased a FRESH tree, and the kids and I sat around stringing popcorn and cranberries while we listened to Christmas music.

It was all so very picturesque, really. I'm sure they'll be requesting this tradition to take place in the future. There was a little bit of blood involved, but no more than is appropriate when decorating a Christmas tree. (That's normal, right?) There was the saw to cut off the bottom, and needles to string the popcorn. Being rugged is...well...rugged.

SHHHH!!!! Don't tell anyone that the real motive is that I'm trying to keep Christmas as simple as possible. Remember? Last year my Christmas treee didn't get put away until... MARCH.
Everything going on THIS tree can be thrown into the BON FIRE (and it WILL be thrown into the bon-fire ASAP).

I think we'll make paper snow flakes for it this weekend. By the way, if you're just lost this Christmas, maybe this article will help. Obviously, the author never watched ELF. Everyone knows that the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.

Another fun activity to get into the Christmas spirit is to go to a Christmas play to watch your small children sing to their hearts content. When your first grade child YAWNS the second the first chord is played, and continues to YAWN the ENTIRE performance and barely sing, well....that's just good for the soul.

Did I say simplicity with a side of sentimentality? That's a misprint. What I meant to say is Simplicity with a side of "I wonder where else I can cut corners that will not cause my children to feel deprived?"

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Wii Need to Face(book) Facts.

I'm not so sure how I feel about Blogger anymore.

I also don't entirely get Facebook. I actually enjoy the "interaction" and connection with friends. But I don't understand gifts, snowflakes, flair, etc....

I really like getting pieces of flair, but I don't know what to do with them after I get them.

I'm worried that our lives are all trapped inside of these computers. It's a bit like the Matrix. Did anyone see that commercial where two GROWN LADIES were playing Wii in the middle of the day and having a conversation while they "virtual walked" through the woods? It was VERY VERY frightening. It made me want to throw the Wii in the trash immediately.

I just read Fahrenheit 451, and I'm afraid it's a little bit too timely. Was Bradbury prophetic?

I'm not saying I'm giving this all up, I'm just saying that I'm beginning to weird myself out.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Folks, I got nothin'. NOTHING I tell you!


I woke up at 4:30 am this morning and I couldn't get back to sleep because I was worrying about the fact that I don't feel I have enough photos and video footage of my kids. I stayed awake until my alarm finally started going off at 6:00am tossing and turning with concern.

At one point I scared myself when I heard a scream, "Photos! Videos!"

It was a nightmare.

What are memories made of? Are they pictures and videos or are they the lasting impressions stamped on the hearts of our children?

Sometimes I fear that I'm raising a household of comedians, rebel-rousers, and "go-with-the-flow hippies." I'm not sure what impression I'm leaving with my children.

But I will say this: I do hope it is nothing. I hope they have learned to be a blank canvas so that they are not too distracted by their own beauty to see the face of someone who has stamped HIS image on their hearts.

And I can't take a picture of THAT!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Miserables

Most of us have probably seen the play or movie, Les Miserables. If you are like me, thinking about reading the 1433 page book is a little bit daunting. I added Les Miserables to the senior reading list this year. Since they read 7-8 books per semester, I thought the 640 abridged version would be fine.

I read the first chapter a couple of weeks ago, and finished it up this weekend. I "neglected" my kids a little (I fed them, clothed them, protected them, but didn't play with them). But as I was reading a book filled with Parisian street urchins, it made my children seem like pampered royals.

I was up until 3am last night finishing the book.

I cried, I underlined passages, and I cheered. Please oh PLEASE don't underestimate the power of fiction to relay tender TRUTH. A few ladies and I are reading this. Anyone else want to join us?

Here's the passage that seems to have inspired the title (for you Greek philosophers out there notice the Socrates allusion):

"What! a mere wall separated him from these abandoned beings, who lived by groping in the night without the pale of the living. Undoubtedly they seemed very depraved, very corrupt, very vile, very hateful, even, but those are rare who fall without being degraded; there is a point, moreover, at which the unfortunate and the infamous are associated and confounded in a single word, a fatal word, les miserables; whose fault is it? And then, is it not when the fall is lowest that the charity ought to be the greatest?"

I won't tell you what happens to those behind "the wall." Les Mis does address the depravity of man and the appropriate reaction to our own weaknesses as well as the weaknesses of others (a.k.a. sin). It is poignant, it is important, and it is TRUE.

And I have the puffy eyes and tear-stained pages to prove it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

God and Singing Cats

It was a moment this evening that will live in my mind for eternity. There is one person, and one person only who constructs a sentence like this in order to practice her acting and enunciation skills:

"The cat walked downtown while singing a song about puberty."

Oh man, that Big Sis. You are your mother's daughter. (okay...There are two people.)

On another (not entirely unrelated) note, I accidentally caught a student listening to an iPod in class today. Luckily, I like this student oodles. I was talking to him about my accidental discovery (oops...someone forgot to tuck their headphones back into their shirt), and heard myself inadvertently saying:

"I think God is on MY side, don't you?"

I'm tired and I'm stressed, and I'm just saying right now that I'm not sure what is going to come out of my mouth tomorrow. It's 8:12. Big Sis and I better go to bed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I'm being eaten alive by essays, progymnasmata exercises, and presentations. Thanks to the Giving to the Breakitie-Brizake.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mrs. Fisher's Book Club

Behold, The list to end all lists. Does anyone want to be in Mrs. Fisher's book club? This does not replace your daily scripture reading! I'm looking for a great deal of silence in the comments section (that was a shameless attempt to try to get people on board while protecting myself from shame and disgrace when no one wants to be my book friend).

1.) The Knowledge of the Holy-Tozer
2.) The City of God-Augustine
3.) The Communist Manifesto-Marx
4.) The Twilight of the Idols-Nietzsche
5.) The God Who is There- Schaeffer
6.) The Essays–Francis Bacon
7.) The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare– Chesterton
8.) In Defense of Faith–VanTil
9.) God in the Wasteland–David Wells
10.) The Problem of Pain- C.S. Lewis
11.) Till We Have Faces-C.S. Lewis
12.) Essays on Criticism- Alexander Pope
13.) Phantastes-George McDonald
14.) 1776- McCullough
15.) The Irresistible Revolution- Claiborne
16.) The Red Tent- Diamant
17.) Crime and Punishment-Dostoevsky
18.) Fear and Trembling- Kierkegaard
19.) Enders Game-Card
20.) Slaughterhouse Five-Vonnegut
21.) Metarmorphoses-Ovid
22.) Plato’s Symposium
23.) Divine Comedy-Dante
24.) Angela’s Ashes-McCourt
25.) Ethan Frome-Wharton
26.) Brothers Karamazov-Dostoevsky
27.) The Pearl-Steinbeck
28.) For Whom the Bell Tolls-Hemingway
29.) Metamorphosis-Kafka
30.) Martian Chronicles-Bradbury

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I Promise Not to Get Too Wordy, Too Boring, or Too Preachy...


I’m feeling rather solemn. I just finished reading Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. I have to echo a student’s evaluation of the book and say:

“Those guys were AWESOME!!”

I learned so much about church history, the reformation, and the importance of the Word of God. There is so much to learn.

Friday, November 14, 2008

There is Cheap, and Then There is...ME.

I took the girls shopping. I made a B-Line for the sales rack. Big Sis was searching on my behalf. She held up an adorable shirt. "Never mind," she sighed. "It's TWELVE dollars."

I've trained her well. That's right. Nothing over $7.50 cuts the mustard. I WILL make the purchase, but not without an incredible amount of emotional pain. It's not that I CAN'T spend the money, it's just that I can't spend the money.

I long to be a pioneer. Three dresses. That is all I want. A Sunday dress, and two rotating daily frocks. Of course, I would need three or four aprons to cover my precious dresses.

With this attitude, I'll soon be wearing a "house dress" and slippers everywhere. Complete with my false eyelashes, rhinestone bracelet, orange hair, sun-damaged skin and man voice.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I'm IT...! 7 Random(ish) Things About Me.

  1. I’m Jealous of people w/ OCD tendencies. I’m the antithesis of OCD.

  2. I can’t spell and write on the blackboard at the same time. This reduces my ethos exponentionally (did I spell that right?). I CAN spell. I just have a hard time writing, teaching Socratically, listening, thinking to the next point, and SPELLING at the same time. It’s a weakness, and for some reason everyone expects the ENGLISH teacher to “spell correctly.”

  3. I’ve been told that I have an uncanny ability to survive in chaos. I’m pretty sure that’s a backhanded compliment. Someone once told me, “I wish I could let my kids eat toast in my bed like you do.” Yes…I’m awesome like that.

  4. People tell me on a regular basis “I didn’t think you liked me,” or “Do you like me?” I try to keep the response ambiguous, thereby lowering or eliminating any expectations. I’m sure that doesn’t assuage their fears. Just to clear the air, I LIKE YOU!!!!

  5. I make someone furiously mad at least once every year (I know that is SOOOO surprising). The only way I can avoid it is by staying home. Alone. But then someone thinks I “don’t like them” because I'm not socializing. Please...eliminate all expectations directed my way. Pretend I'm not here, and I'll just float in and surprise you once in a while like a forgotten but beloved specter.

  6. I’m deathly afraid of pickles (Just kidding).

  7. Ironically, in spite of my complete lack of OCD, I’m really no good at the “random” post. I always have an agenda.

And the game goes on... Auntie Beth, Little Dalene, and my comrade ChristyO, you're it!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Quixotic Hope?

There has been a paradigm shift in my life this week. I've cried THRICE.

  1. I was in the fetal position when McCain conceded. He was so classy, and he made me proud to be an American.
  2. I can't help it. A Tale of Two Cities makes me cry. If you didn't cry, I will have to have some other proof of your humanity.
  3. Several students recited the St. Crispan's Day Speech from Henry V in Rhetoric today. They did SUCH a great job. I was moved. I didn't go fetal, but I was misting.

Perhaps one must be a little MAD to feel the hope that I have today. But to tell you the truth, I'm very excited about the future. I'm so thrilled to know that FAMILY VALUES just became a little more important. Lackadaisical? Absolutely NOT. The ball is in MY court. That's just where it belongs.

Our futures are not established by our governments. Whether you were a Maverick supporter, or are a MoBama fan, the reality remains that the FIRST line of defense is... YOU. The family is the vanguard of our future. I'm so glad that God is sovereign and I'm excited to see his mysterious hand at work.

Quixotic? Perhaps. But then again, while Sancho is stuck in a hole, I prefer to see a grand adventure.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Drama of the Great Debate

Is there anything better than combining a great debate with a little bit of humor?? Maybe that's why America is fascinated by SNL right now. There's nothing like humor to lighten a situation and drive home a point simultaneously.

I can't help but feel that as we enter the future, there is a great need for logical minds, who know when and where to use their rhetoric. However, there are times when the best thing to do is to "take a chill pill" and laugh at ourselves.

It's sort-of sad that much of the rhetoric we see today is nothing but a theatrical, shameless appeal to pathos. I'm concerned about the dubious "tomorrow." Not just election day, but 20 years from now. I hope we are taking the time to train our children how to think, debate, and most importantly love their neighbors by finding common ground from which to persuade.

My friend Wilbur said it best. "I'z reely hopin that them thur yungins iz doin skool learnin on howtu be teachen the peoples about all the rites and rongs in the wearld. I'z sorta trubled about the future of this hear nation, who like fancy talkin but aint been taught howta do their own fancy talk. I wished I could do it."

I'm SO Grateful for so many friends (in the blogosphere and across the nation) who are being intentional in the training of their children. We are training the people who will be making decisions for us when we are in our rocking chairs!!! You all rock at what you do! I love reading the stories that you each be honest, I'm totally intimidated by all of the rocking awesome moms out there. WE'll be rocking together at the nursing home some day. For now, I watch you in awe.

With the necessity for a new generation of leaders (and my gooberness), I can't tell you how grateful I am for the Speech and Debate team at ACS, where my daughter (with the help of two friends) just received two medals for Cross-Examination (3rd place), and Humorous Duet (2nd place). Poor Big Bub. If you want to win a medal, it helps to know your lines. Good lessons. Conversely, if you want to get a medal, you need to have a smokin funny partner and a mean old-lady impersonation.

Christy and I had a great day with our girls. With seven years of speech and debate impending on their high-school resumes, could we be training the next Sarah Palins??? (or Tina Feys????)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Encore: Pigs. 86 the Blanket

As the weather has taken a turn to the cool side, the comments have started to roll in. In a shameless attempt to avert the flood of concern on my behalf, I'm re-visiting portions of a previous post. Some of you have read it, some haven't. Either way, consider yourself informed.

Don't expect to see me walking around in "shoes" in the wintertime.

I wear three types of shoes: Sandals (any variation), Boots (to make me look tall), and Sneakers (for running).Sometimes in the winter, I simply do not want to wear my boots (because I most likely have no socks folded and I don't feel like digging through the clean sock basket). I simply cannot wear my sneakers with black slacks or a dress; therefore, I might gallivant about in flip flops.FYI, this does NOT concern me. Even though it may be 12 degrees outside, and my arms are cold, I can assure you that my feet are NOT COLD.

I am stupefied at the number of people who are concerned for the welfare of my feet. I can understand their need to satisfy their curiosity, but perhaps a more poignant question than "Aren't your feet cold?" could be concocted.

Isn't the real question: "Are you an idiot? It's 12 degrees outside!" To which I could reply: "REALLY???? I did NOT notice. So THAAAATTTTSSS why my feet are cold! I have been getting frost- bite, and I couldn't figure out WHY! THANK YOU SOO SOOOO much for pointing that out to me. NOW I know that someone really cares about me."

I'm astounded by the number of people-friends and strangers- who enjoy pointing this out to me. A few months ago, at the GAS STATION, a man pointed out to me my lack of appropriate footwear. For some reason, I responded: "Yes, I realize that, but I'm just so HOT all of the time." I didn't realize that was opening a door for him to respond with a "pick-up line." I won't tell you exactly what he said, but my daughter was in the car and we laughed for about an hour after that.

Point is, I got SMOKIN HOT feet, O.K.? My little piggies DON't Need NO Blanket. They're Extra Spicy Cajun Jalepeno with a side of Tobasco. And hey, I might wear a coat, I might not. I try to keep life simple and coats are just another thing to remember. Not wearing a coat is a small price to pay for not forgetting the coat that you don't own.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I. Have. A. TEENAGER....Today!

13 reasons I'm excited:

13.- Maybe he'll start to like girls and 86 the stinky boy thing.
12.- He's big enough to give me a big bear hug (even though he doesn't like to).
11.- We haven't had any Jerry Springer moments together yet. Could there be one in our future?
10.- Clearasil, Clearasil, Clearasil.
9.- Three years until there's another driver.
8.- Can you say good looking? He might be a heart-throb... I don't know.
7.- Then again, there's the Napoleon Dynamite tendencies.
6.- We're actually discussing colleges.
5.- He's becoming the family expert on scripture. YIKES.
4.- Two years until he has Mrs. Fisherstine as a teacher.
3.-He may be a teenager, but I can still call him my Snuggy-Buggy-Mr. Mannie-Poo. He loves that.
2.- Guess what? He's in charge of the lawn.
1.- He will handle the role of FIRST teenager in the home with flying colors.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Myrmidons BEWARE!!

As a young bride, I had a propensity to burn the stew. Mr. Clyde was so kind, often commenting that my creative concoctions tasted like I had simply added liquid smoke to the recipe.

There is a time for liquid smoke. It goes well in a roast. Combined with garlic powder, Tabasco sauce, and cheese, it is arguably the most critical ingredient in my favorite grits recipe.

It has been a rare event, indeed during the last decade of my life to have "inadvertent" smoke flavor inserted into my culinary inventions. In fact, since I added "Caterer" to my resume, I can't recall a single time that I have cooked with "Mr. Clyde's Favorite Liquid Smoke."

Until this week. TWICE (One, Two...), TWICE I have burned my stew. This is a head-scratcher indeed. Both times, I've walked away from the stove, underestimating the time frame of my household errand. Alas, my past is coming back to haunt me!!! I thunked I wuz gettin smart-dur, but maybe I'z gettin not smart-der.

I dunno. Maybe it's the four children with homework, relational, and hygiene needs. Maybe it's the full-time job, hubbie, and marathon "madness" (as my niece Jaime calls it). Perhaps my brain cells are at maximum capacity, and there is a civil war between the "original" inhabitants of my mind, and the "newcomers." There just isn't enough man-power to go around. Call me crazy, but I'm quite confident there is a battle that would make the Myrmidons squeamish.

And there is smoke to prove it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Grammar Boot Camp

It's the week I've been waiting for. (Please ignore the dangling preposition...this is the blogosphere...O. KAY?????)

It's the week that I get to yell at my students and everyone knows it's all in "good fun." I've set strict rules. "Don't speak unless I speak to you." "You are only allowed to bring ONE pencil to class." "No back-packs, purses, or Bibles allowed." (You heard me.)

I've threatened push-ups, running, and general pain. All in "good fun."

They don't know it yet, but next they will be tortured with the "Perfect Paper Project." Anything with that much alliteration is sure to be a success.

One of my mommies (you know who you are out there) even asked for her own homework (for fun). I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!! YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW!!!!

I aint gots a reason two B teachin this stuff, I just likes it. When Grammduh be taught good, there ain't nothin them kids caint set there sites too. Shucks, the main reason I be doin it is so's I can dress up.

(and I keep finding grammatical errors in the post....ironic...)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cry, Praise, and Laugh

I am now, as always, amazed by cousin Jason's insight. I have copied his last post to my blog (Jason, I hope you don't mind...). I can't share this with any more eloquence. Friend, both cyber and flesh-n-blood, please add Jason's family to your prayer list.

His post is as follows:

Jr. High Swimming Pool Locker Room

Today was not the worst day of my life.Today doctors told my wife and I that we need to start a 3 year regiment of Chemo treatments for my 3 year old son because he has Leukemia. (Kudos to the doctors for being masters at delivering bad news. I bet my mechanic must have skipped that class.)

My spell checker tells me that this disease is foreign to me. And while I've heard of it, I don't really know what it means.

As a younger man, I once imagined what it would be like to get some really bad news like this. It feels so weird now that it is I’m supposed to be more dazed than I am.

I always thought something bad like Leukemia would be the worst day of my life. Actually, the worst day of my life was when I had to change in front of my peers for Jr. high swim lessons in my pre-pubescent existence. I'm still whirling from that one.

I cried some today. I did fine at the grocery store and at the service station that fixed my flat. I was strong for my daughters in explaining the more naive version of Von's sickness to them. In my sadness for what Von and Lisa will be going through, I came to realize that God is ok with us crying.

As my friend Rick Suarez told me today, King David, the man after God's own heart, did two things in the Psalms. He praised God and he cried out to God. That makes me feel good. Big warrior David not only did the right thing and praised God, but he also did the human thing and cried out to Him.

In the next few days, I'm going to cry a little, praise a little, and be sure to laugh a little. Von and Lisa wouldn't want it any other way.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Do You Want the Truth?

(the truth is...maybe it's I who can't handle the truth)

It was 85 degrees today.

Not ONE of the eight people that I ran with met their goals. In fact, most of us came in 30mins-1.5 hours behind our projected time.

Running 26.2 on a sunny 85 degree day is...well...NOT a good thing.

A week ago today, I was still hurting (psycho-pain) with an injury from a month ago. Taking 2 weeks off running didn't help. So I went to the doc on Mon, and ran the race on Sat...after taking a total of 3 weeks off of running.

So, even though I ran SLOWER than my first marathon (significantly), I finished.

The TRUTH is, covering that much ground is ...well...hard on a good day. Today was NOT a good day. I didn't have ONE easy mile, but the miles did pass.

And Mr. Clyde is exuberant with joy regarding his finish. He deserves to be. It was a good day.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


A person should really be asleep at 10:45pm on the night before a marathon. It's a good thing I slept well last night. Those two Advil PMs didn't hurt. But I couldn't feel my tongue until noon today.

So I chose to forego the sleep-aids.

And I blog instead.
I'm the epitome of...WisDumb today.

I like 4:00am, I LIKE 4:00am, I like 4:00am.
When I ran the Kansas City marathon, someone dressed like the devil ran behind me. Nothin' makes a person run like being chased by the devil.

I wonder what my motivation will be tomorrow?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Oh Yes...He DID!!!!

Not to beat a dead horse, but...

We are now within FIVE pounds of one another.

AND he is taller than me. As of today.

He's so much easier to hug. I can lay my head on HIS shoulder now.

I'm liking this.

Monday, October 6, 2008

I Hired A Maid...

She has eight legs and eight arms. She knows where everything belongs in my house. The maid has a personal interest in having my home tidy. She even does her own laundry. I love working along side of her.

And all I have to pay her is a few pieces of pizza.

She really doesn't have to work that hard, because she sends her arms and legs in so many different directions, that each part carries a teeny bit of the load.

She does such a GREAT job. And when she grows up and has a family of her own, she won't be a house-cleaning doofus. No. She will have experience for her domestic resume. Even the testosterone-driven side of her.

P.S. I can't figure out why doofus isn't in the blogger dictionary.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Delight in Tears....

Am I the only one who cried during "Enchanted?" Perhaps I should purchase some Happy Pills? Actually, Lil Mr Man and I both started taking Fish Oil this week. His is to help with brain development and concentration (aka he is a SPAZ). My pill is to keep me from kicking someone.

I knew it was bad this week when my husband asked me if he could rub my feet (ouchie running feet), and I was like... "whatever." The next morning, he made my favorite breakfast (chocolate chip pancakes and bacon), and then FED ME while I was getting ready for school (because I couldn't be bothered to sit down). I gave him a half-hearted thanks.

(I know I all had me on some sort of a pedestal and now you see the real me [ha ha "right, sweetness...keep telling yourself that if it helps you sleep at night"] Okay, I will tell myself that because I'm not sleeping right now)

Since you stole my pedestal, I'll get out my soapbox.

I'm standing on the soapbox now.

I'm opening my mouth.... Here comes the big thought.

Nope. I got nothing.

Except this: Henry V made me cry. Little Women made me cry. Lots of tears over great stories. A student cried this week when Boxer was sent to the glue factory in Animal Farm.

And that made me giggle with delight. Because she cried.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

It's All a Blur

I've painted a mural or two in my day. Murals require very little attention to detail. I don't feel restricted or constrained by a mural. Painting on a small canvas means itty-bitty precision. I'm no good at that.

Tom Garfield says that "Women use their intelligence to justify their intuition." I certainly believe that statement to have a measure of truth. When painting on a large canvas, what seems blurry to those up close is crystal clear from a distance.

And right now, I'm so very close to the canvas.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

He's Almost Thirteen. 'Nuf Said.

We were discussing birthday party plans. I asked him, "Now that you are almost thirteen, are you going to start thinking that I am stupid?"

He looked at me with earnest and gentle eyes. He implored me to search his soul with his demeanor. I could tell that I had hurt his feelings by suggesting that he would disrespect his favorite lady.

He responded hurtfully, "I have NEVER said that out loud."
Bless his heart.

Monday, September 22, 2008

To Teach is to Transfer Knowledge...

First Graders and Reading... Awesome.
Lit Teachers and Reading with First Graders...Not Awesome.

Pointing to a sentence and saying: "De-Code that" apparently means nothing. All I got was laughter, and "Mom, I don't know what you're talking about." He keeps eating bananas because they are "good for (his) brain." I asked whether he wanted orange juice or milk, and he responded, "which one makes you the smartest?"

He's honestly learning things so fundamental, I didn't know the rules existed. It makes me wonder; How do we transfer knowledge to our children when the vast majority of the knowledge that we have learned was learned prior to our cognizant memory of having obtained said knowledge? You know? No rule is too small, no instruction too minuscule.

Still, the heart of teaching is the transfer of knowledge. Watching my first grader learn to read inspires me to become a better teacher myself. If my mom can teach my kid to read, I can teach that other high school kid all about compound-complex sentences, parenthetical expressions, independent elements and predicate adjectives (etc, ad nauseum).

Thanks, Mom for teaching Mr. Man to Read, and for teaching me to teach.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I Went to the Gas Station Today...

To get gas. I prepaid $40. Walked out with my Smart Water and a Mr. Pib for Big Bub. Then I left. I got to the othe side of town. On Fumes.

I made it back to the gas station. ON FUMES. The 59 year old cash register lady with the fancy tatoo on her chest let me get $33 of gas, because "Thars u credit on thayt pump fer that. I caint give you no more 'n dat, Yull have to tayk thayat up with the manager." Another cash register lady yelled at me from the back room. I didn't know what she said. My brain was too busy screaming in my ear. I was watching myself from a distance. I wasn't angry. Wasn't angry. The lady with the rose on her...chest... said, "Aye dont know why anyone'd just tayke Sevn' dollrs. They should'a taken all uvit."

Yes, they should have taken all of it. That makes sense.

$7. I hope it went to someone who really needed it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


If you haven't had a "Jerry Springer Moment" at your house, then in my book, you haven't lived.

Big Sis and I have been trying to practice our act. I'll know, however, that if I ever get invited to a big city, and my daughter requests that I meet her at a TV studio for a "makeover," that I am in big trouble.

The drama of the two queen bees coupled with our mutual choleric-melancholy personalities is a sight to behold. I need a writing/ art/ reading/ running studio where I can go and de-stress. So does she. But let's face it...that AINT gonna happen.

In case anyone was wondering, there is no "MAJOR" crisis. There are about ten minor ones. Granted, these might seem MAJOR to some people, but it's normal stuff around here. Just not ten at a time.

I told a student recently, that it is best to learn to stay afloat in the tempest, because if you are waiting for calm waters to set sail, you'll most likely stay on the beach. Sure there will be those beautiful and picturesque days, but often, they will be stormy indeed. I'm not sinking to the bottom just yet. My boat is not fancy, but it is seaworthy.

Thanks for the calls and emails.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Not a Great Day...

And I feel like writing a really dark, melancholy post. Oh the metaphors that I could use, the hyperbole, the satire and the dramatic dialogue!

My heart hurts so much I'm inclined to change the background of my blog to black. Perhaps I should dig up some black fingernail polish to commemorate my glum mood.

I might need to put a sign on my blackboard tomorrow that says: "Don't speak to me today. Don't look at me, and Don't even DREAM of breathing audibly. Violators will be fed to the dragon of despair."

Yet...though I do walk through a valley, I know that others have valleys much deeper and more treacherous that they are walking through right now.

I remind myself that a reward is something that you work for. A blessing is a gift. I am blessed beyond compare, for I fear that my work has never measured up. Prayer is so essential. Due to my complete lack of "normal" life skills, I am constantly reminded of my inadequacies. Honestly, I'm okay with that.

Today, however, I'm looking for a pic-axe and a rope to climb out of this valley.

Monday, September 15, 2008



I'm ADDICTED to Am I the only one? Not only can you read about words, you can also LISTEN TO THEIR pronunciation. .......oooohhh.....

It helps when you speak a bit of Old English, and you can say to your children, "You're a lyin'. I can see it in your eyen!", and your grammar remains intact.

Chaucer starts this week. I love that crazy guy. His tales were INSANE, and contained so much satire. I think the kids will dig it. We're doing a very non-classical thing, however, and reading only PORTIONS. Medieval humor was...well... let's just say the sailors would be blushing.


When I run, sometimes I become very emotional. Deep Thoughts + Deep Pain = Emotions Galore. Major prayer and God-n-me time. Crazy. Crazy connections. I ran for a couple of hours on Sunday, and I about started crying three times. Not cute little "glistening" tears, but the kind of crying where you look something like Large Marge from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. However, I don't want to be the crazy lady who runs around the neighborhood crying. So I put on my stoic costume and ran around instead. Large Marge kept wanting to come out, and I had to keep pulling out the costume to cover up her contorted face.

Words and Exercise:

If I have something to say, and I still have something to say when I'm done running, it's probably worth saying. And I have something to say. I'll say it later.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I'm back at it, and I'm bursting...

I love Lit, and since it's a bit "Areopagus-ish," I'll leave it in its place. I have a lot to say about the books we're covering right now. My goal is to add a snippet for each book. So there you have it. All two LitHappy Readers can come for a visit.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Oh, how I long for the Areopagus...

A gathering place where minds would dialoge about the issues of the day...wrestling with a mass of opinions, ideas, and proof in order to squeeze out the truth.

But...In the precarious tight-rope walk of ideas, the tension is oftentimes too much for the acrobat to bear. The tiny rope that leads me from one side of the chasm to the other is likely to snap, and I fear I will fall to the bottom of the ravine, never to be found again.

For today... I choose not to walk that rope. Instead, I cast my vote for gooberness.

Case in point: Little Mr. Man went to the bathroom tonight. As soon as he sat down, I heard him shout: "FIRE IN THE HOLE!!!"

No, the Areopagus is not as interesting as goober humor.

Monday, September 8, 2008

I Just Wrote Two Irritable Posts

One: Palin
Two: My Life, TMI

And yet, I don't push the button: PUBLISH. Despite my ornery husband's encouragement to do so.

Impulse Control...I think I can, I think I can...

And now, we can all still be friends. Your minds can wonder about my opinions, and I will gladly give them if you pick up the phone and call. But girlfriends, thay ain't goin' on the WEB! ( least not tonight...).

Tonight, no one will be chastised.

I will simply say: Hey ladies... You all rock. Take a twenty and buy yo-self sumpin purty.

Oh, and the Boyz-trying to be Men, too... We ladies are pretty glad you all are on this planet. Go kill a deer or something.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Time, Do tell...


We don't have enough of it in our lives. I'm convinced that TIME is one of the greatest gifts that will be afforded in eternity.

We are forced to make choices in our lives based on the lack of TIME available to us. Lack of TIME is one reason that I choose to NOT watch Television. I did NOT watch American Idol, I've never seen an episode of "24," and I hate to say this, but I actually only watched about an hour of the Olympics (parts of each marathon).

I could spend an eternity....

  • Talking to my husband. I love his perspectives.
  • Laughing and playing with my children, rocking EACH ONE to sleep (yes, even the big ones if they need it... didn't you read "I'll Love You Forever?"). We would go on a never-ending vacation free from the distractions of responsibilities.
  • Searching the Word for insight and wisdom...searching every commentary to understand the literary, historical and spiritual significance of each passage.
  • Reading EVERY ONE of the great classics...while sipping my coffee on my front porch, reclined in a chair. I would find others who were also interested, and share meaningful conversations with them.
  • Painting...developing a natural talent that I simply do not have TIME use.
  • Investing personally in the lives of my students. Serving them continually...
  • Visiting and listening to my family members...
  • Exercise... I would dedicate myself to marathons in a new and grand way, by hiring a trainer, and giving myself only the BEST nutrition.
  • I would get my Masters Degree...
  • I would finally write that book I've been thinking about, an act of service to a forgotten community of sufferers...
  • I would spend time with each of my friends, look them in the eyes, and listen to their heart. We would laugh and share with each other.
  • The list goes on....

But alas, while each one of these pursuits would be worthy, I am left with very limited resources in the TIME arena.

I simply seek the guidance of the Father of Time, who knows my hours and days. But as long as I am chained to a temporal existence, I must accept the fact that I will NOT accomplish everything on my list.

So what will it be? How will I invest my most valuable resource?

Only Time will Tell.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


There she is... Dalene.

I once joined an online club for Dalene's. It was really fun until it started to get really weird.

I once heard that the name DALENE is the most **southern** name that a person can have. DAY-LEEEEEN!!!

On the west coast this summer, several people were fascinated with the name...DALENE.

It's not Darlene, or Daylene, or Duh-layne.

In my world, it's simply "Big" Dalene, and "Little" Dalene. I'm "Big" Dalene. I abhor the day when this tradition passes, and I become "old" Dalene, and she becomes "young" Dalene. Luckily, we no longer have the same last name. Hey Dalene, stay away from Swedish men.

I've been called Mean Dalene, Dalene the Green-Bean, and thanks to my maiden name, Frankenstein (but that's another story).

I'm trying to pressure her into writing a cookbook with me, called "Dalene Cooks Twice the Fun." This is one of those crazy dreams that's mostly just based on the fact that there are two Dalene's. I'm not sure a publisher would go for that. She's a world traveler (currently in Korea); I like to travel no further than 5 miles.

So, Goodnight Dalene!! Be safe on the other side of the world.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


My days these days...

9th grade...Uncle Tom's Cabin: SLAVERY STILL EXISTS!!! Did you know there are still 27 million slaves in the world? That is MORE slaves than were trafficked during the FOUR HUNDRED years of African Slave Trade. Let's wake up.

10th grade.... Mythology, by Edith Hamilton: Artemis, Zeus, Hermes, Prometheus, Odysseus, Orestes, Agamemnon, the Trojan War, etc... There's nothing better than a bunch of stories about the Ancient Greeks! What a bunch of Goober-Berry Pies!

11th grade.... The Faerie Queen, Book 1: Edmund Spenser, reportedly a favorite of C.S. Lewis, took great pains to make sure his books were antiquated when they were written in the 1500's. Dragons, witches, knights, ladies in distress, blood, vomit, tears and FORGIVENESS!!!!! There is not a better piece of fiction written on the pains of aspiring to holiness.

12th grade... Walden: Thoreau was brilliant, and brilliantly lost. A father of American Transcendentalism, he asked us to simplify our lives, and simplified his by mooching off of a bunch of other people. Nevertheless, the commonplaces in his book are PHENOMENAL Thoureau reminds me to look for reflections of God in uncommon places (only I'm not sure he was worshiping the same God that I am).

Rhetoric: Acts 17 & Paul's speech to the Greeks.... Plato and Socrates and their vendetta against the Sophists. Epicureans and Stoics, and best of all the One AND the Many. Aristotle defines Rhetoric as "The art of observing in any given situation the available means of persuasion."

Dirty House, Tired Muscles, Four Busy Kids, Amazing Hubby, Grade the Papers, Cook the Dinner, Clean the House, Do the Laundry, Help with Homework, Write the Test, Study for Rhetoric, Copy the Papers, Read my Bible, Listen to my Bible, Dirty House, take out the Trash.

Metamorphosis? I may become a Goober-Berry Pie.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Carb High

Something is amiss in my life. I don't normally think this much about food. Those who know me well could attest to that fact. Perhaps it is the marathon training? My body is DEMANDING to be fed, and I am very happily feeding it. I still lost five pounds last week for no apparent reason.

Nevertheless, and at the risk of losing a grand majority of my readers as I keep putting up posts about what I'm putting into my mouth, I can't resist telling the world.... I am standing on a mountainside. The wind is blowing through my hair and the sun is setting in the distance. A single cloud passes by. A bird passes over my left shoulder and as I turn to listen to its mid-air melody, music begins to play in the background. With a big grin on my face, I spread my arms wide and declare:

" I had barbecue chicken, grits and a yeast roll for dinner!"

I'm laughing so hard right now. I'm in a state of histrionics. This might not be funny to anyone else, but for someone who normally can't even come up with ONE thing to say when questions about food are asked, I sure am excited. I think I'm on a Carb High.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Weekend= A-.

Oh stack of papers six inches high,
I stare at you and then I sigh.

All weekend long we've sat together,
Reading you sure takes forever!

Tests, compositions, worksheets and such,
I don't like grading all that much.

But oh the brilliance that does appear,
And in my heart I start to cheer!

They're Smart! They're Bright! They're Funny! They're Cool!
Those kids are why I love my school.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

This Topic ISN'T OVER....

Carrot Cake...

Carrot Cake AND Coffee.

It freezes well, it tastes amazing, and it's worth every penny. I'm not talking about CARROT CAKE MIX. We all know stories of well meaning housewives who have been demoted in the eyes of their peers and admiring followers when they attempted to make this delicious dessert from a mix. NO. This fantastic yummy treat requires grating, slicing, chopping, cutting, measuring, mixing and SINGING. Everything tastes better when you sing while cooking. I learned the secret of "singing spice" during my brief adventures in catering. Cooking and singing, sprinkled with crazy dancing are teeny tiny blessings that you can bring upon YOURSELF. Cooks singing to food is as gardeners talking to plants. We don't know why it works. We just know it works.
Attempting to make this cake from a mix is just wrong. But McAlisters has it right, and I'll be enjoying this new-found discovery (the fact that someone in town sells this amazing treat) on a weekly basis for a long time to come. Or at least until I get sick of it...which might be in about a month.

I've actually struggled to identify my favorite treat. The search is over. At least for a month or two. After that, it will just be me and my coffee.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Red Furniture

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

There is a red table in my room at school. To me, It symbolizes the pursuit of Truth. I love this big red chair. I've been thinking about its significance as well. I think it has something to do with how tiny I am, and how happy I am with that.
Happy as a teeny tiny piece of nothingness.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Weakness?

Coffee, I love you.

You are my weakness. I'll admit that when I hear people talk about macchiato's, I feel it is my duty to come to your defense. It is not necessary to mask your awesomeness with caramel, vanilla, steamed milk and whipped cream. Give me a real macchiato any day of the week. A double shot w/ a hint of cream... love in a shot glass. Thank you Broadway Cafe for the perfect roast. I'm spoiled forever by your relentless pursuit of coffee perfection.

The goats danced and the shepherds took notice. A couple thousand years later, I reap the benefits of their discovery. Like the monks of yore, I meet you in the morning.

Goodbye Chocolate Cake. Goodbye Lemon Bars. Hello Coffee.

It's not an addiction. It's a lifestyle.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Just on the Edge of Grumpy

Well.... Here we go again! My lifelong friend and sweet precious darling adorable cousin Charissa tagged me for a game. I'm just letting everyone out there know that I'm not going to tag anyone, but I think this is a great post idea, so feel free to copy the awesomeness that is known as the "six random things about me" post.


Dear Blogosphere, I welcome your disapproving sighs. Hold your breath.

1.) I skipped school in FIRST grade.
2.) If I say "no thank you," when you ask me if I want a piece of chocolate cake, I actually DON'T want a piece. It isn't a conspiracy on my part to make you feel guilty for enjoying YOUR piece of cake. Get over it already.
3.) I don't like your dog. I barely like my dog.
4.) I prayed for a sister and God gave me SEVEN awesome Sister-in-Laws. We all know how I feel about the number SEVEN. It rhymes with Heaven.
5.) I'm still shedding tears when I see the seniors who graduated in May from my school. What is my problem? I'm not ready to let them go. HOW are their parents feeling?
6.) I would just like to repeat here that I would like to be able to say no to dessert without anyone feeling offended. Oh, and no I don't want to kiss your dog.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Exercise that Brain!

Tomorrow is the first day of school.
It would be difficult to clearly communicate my passion and love for teaching. I feel like I live inside a daily miracle when I am teaching. Sometimes, I don't know where the words come from, and then I remember that it is not me who is teaching, but God who is teaching through me. He seems to care so much for my students, that he is able to use a very inadequate person. I've been fascinated that He guides EVERY step of the process. I often pray for inspiration, and it is amazing how the "perfect" idea pops into my head at just the right moment. He is good to me, and I am blessed. I desperately need him tomorrow as I introduce Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Tempest, the Scarlet Letter, and the Rhetoric of Aristotle. I try not to begin 5 books simultaneously, but alas it is the first day of what is there to do? I'll tell you. Pray.
I hope EVERYONE has a great year.... public, private, and home school alike! Exercise that brain! It's the only one you'll ever have.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Am I In Trouble?

This young lady will be teaching my Little Mr. Man His three "R's" this year... Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic. Our small school was in need of a first grade teacher, and they thought that it would be awesome to have a teacher with 30 years of teaching experience and a masters degree on staff. I agree.
So Little Mr. Man, be nice to Grammy. She's coming out of retirement for you. No "getting out of work by pulling out the 'love' card." No "Grammy-Poo this or Grammy-Poo that." Don't even try your little "cutie love bug" tricks, because she knows of your secret powers of persuasion. And no calling her "Grandma." That's Mrs. Rovenstine to you, buddy.

With Grammy as your teacher, every day will be as "beautiful and grand" as the "most beautifulest place I (you) ever seen in my WHOLE life." I mean, Mrs. Rovenstine.... Oh, and be good. I don't want to get in trouble.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Coffeehouse Questions

My favorite coffeehouse in the whole wide great big universe is in Moscow, Idaho where the Christian classical school LOGOS is located. A fabulous used-book store resides inside this coffeehouse where I recently purchased Yellowstone for Families, The Story of Philosophy, and Brush Up on Your Poetry.

We drove several hours out of the way on our vacation to visit this coffeehouse. Besides their amazing espresso and aesthetically pleasing environment, the owners have created an environment that seems to beg: "THINK! Go AHEAD, ASK!" Big thoughts creep into my head as I enter the door. Big grand "Godly" thoughts, and Big sad, "No-No" thoughts. Questions about my place in the world, God, and my relationships. These questions have answers, of course, but in order to get to the answers, I have to be allowed to ask the questions. As a teacher, nothing is more endearing than having a student who keeps asking questions--earnestly seeking Truth. But I wonder...have I created a coffeehouse environment with my life? Am I afraid of questions because there may be no easy answers? And if so, WHY? Don't the words communion and communication have the same root ?
In our home, we have a coffeehouse, complete with a commercial espresso machine, a couch, pub table, and all the sugary syrups a heart could desire. I envision many late-night talks with my own children during their teen years in this room. When they start asking the hard questions, will I be defensive or abrasive because they have ASKED?

The open forum of coffeehouse culture is being embraced by the young people of this generation. They don't seek to simply have their questions answered, but they also seek to simply be allowed to ask. There is a lot of dialogue happening, and we need to jump into the discussion. It seems to me that we have too many answers today, when whe haven't actually taken the time to figure out the real questions. We don't listen.

Right now I have some pretty BIG questions. Some of these questions are about my life, some burdens I bear for others. I get pretty frustrated, and while I humbly ask, I still want to....ASK. These are questions to which I THINK I already know the answer, but I still want to voice to Someone who knows my heart. He can handle it. His intelligence can bear my frustrations. And best of all, HE created the coffee bean.

And now for that Latte...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Schoolhouse Pizazz

I'm starting to feel ready for school...finally! I've read 14 books this summer, I've reviewed the grammar curriculum for next year, and I'm starting to really miss my students.

And thanks to the 1/2 price sale at the Salvation Army, I feel that I can go to school with a little "pizazz." Last week's pick was gone this week, but I like this one even better.

I really love my job, comfy shoes, and hugs.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I Can Feel the Love.

After a hug.... Mr. Man looked at me and gave me some... um..."encouragement."

"Some people think that the moms look hideous, but the sons don't."

Wow. There's a lot of love in this house. We shoot straight and love strong. Don't come over here expecting any sugar-coating. We may have to do some social-integration exercises, however, before Mr. Man starts to date someone other than his mommy.

To quote the Waterboy's mama.... "son, you aint gots what we likes to call de 'social skills,' that's why you ain't got no friends...'cept for yo mama."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I Very Likely Have a Disorder

A disorder must obviously mean there is an area in your life that is in dis-order. Folks, someone buy me BabyWise and put me on a schedule.

Hi, My name is Dalene, and I am a nap-aholic. (Technically, I've noticed that we follow every addiction name with (alc)ohol-ic. Why do we say things like "I'm a napoholic." Is this the addiction to trainloads of alcohol followed by a nap?

I'm not addicted to alcohol. Therefore I'm a napic.

Family lore tells me that my spunky great grandmother was addicted to her naps. Apparently, like me, she was simultaneously a morning person and a night person. Afternoons? Not so much.

Bad time to call: 2-4pm. But then again, the calls are rare, now that we have this "cyber friendship" thing going on. In case anyone was wondering, my ears and my mouth work as well as they ever did.

But back to the point: When I was in 11th grade, my excessive need for naps drove my parents to take me to the MD. My diagnosis? "Lack of Youthful Zest." Bravo, Senorita MD. Bravo, I say. Keep up the good work and the impeccable diagnostics.

I still lack Zest. I long for normalcy, but it just isn't my bag, baby. I was reading Aristotle tonight, and he encouraged me. He said that the desire for change in life is natural, the way that seasons change. Hey, Aristotle!'za speakin my language, bruthu!

I'm not sure what that has to do with naps, but honestly taking a nap makes me feel like I just had two days crammed into one. One day isn't enough. I need two. I must have been a Sears baby.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hippee: Root word=Hip

I feel a plethora of posts coming on.

I have been in summer mode, sans stress--therefore the cathartic act of writing has been an unnecessary element in my life. However, with the approach of school just around the corner (I plan to report the first week of August), my inner freak-out is rising.

Not that I mind! I thrive on an unusually high degree of stress. On the other hand, I had no problem staying up until 2-3am and sleeping in until 11-12 for about three weeks after school got out (oh...and that senior trip to Chi-Town). I'm good at being lazy, too. Too good.

**Off topic***Am I the only one who is psychotically distracted by the improper use of too, to, two, your, you're, its, and it's? These are the things that nightmares are made of. I don't mean to be the grammar police, but they're EVERYWHERE, or should I say: Their everywhere? or how about... THERE everywhere. you see my point.... but I digress***

The vacation was amazing, and it was one of the first times in my life I returned from a vacation actually REFRESHED!! I'm spending my week (try not to be jealous when I write this next part) HANGING OUT AT TULSA COFFEE SHOPS reading while Big Sis goes to a Tulsa Ballet summer intensive. Big Bub is working at the Ranch in NE, and the Little's are going to VBS and loving on Gma and Gpa. So it's just me and all of those cool people who run their life from their laptops. I feel cool.

I stopped by the Salvation Army today, and I found the ****"CUTEST"**** jumper that I was SOOO SOO SOO tempted to buy. Let me tell you about it: DENIM with a cute little embroidered "teacher" apple on the pocket. Buttoned up all of the way. Don't laugh. I may go get it tomorrow and wear it to school on the first day just to get things off on the "right foot." It's a few sizes too big as well, but no matter. I would SO wear this if I could know for sure my students would "get" it, but I'm afraid they might just be dumbfounded into silent stupor. Then again, maybe it's just the ticket.

Big bub finds it the greatest "truth insult" to tell me, "You're a Hippee." Okay. Let's go discuss that over coffee in our second-hand clothes after reading a book. I'll prove to you I aint no hippee.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

This montage really doesn't do the trip justice. I took over 1,000 pictures, so there is just no way to tell our story in 3 minutes... so this will have to do. We're not ready to be home! I'm "pretending" that I'm still on vacation. The one place that we fell in love with the most was the one area where my camera batteries were DEAD! So take my word for it, the Wyoming high plains were BREATHTAKING! I want to move to a log cabin. NEVER read Walden right after visiting the beautiful NORTHWEST and Yellowstone regions.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Road Trip to End All Road Trips...

Hmmm...when do you blog when you have been...

Arizona Volcano Fields,
Arizona Rock Formation Viewing,
The Grand Canyon,
Circus Circus in Las Vegas,
Beach bumming in Santa Cruz,
Boardwalk Amusement Park Fun,
San Francisco Fisherman's Warf, Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz,
Wine Country Vineyards,
The Redwood Forest,
The Beautiful and Picturesque Oregon Coast,
Fireworks and a bonfire on the beach....

Breathe... and a week of sightseeing still to go~!

Pictures will arrive later.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My Life as a Blonde

One of my favorite people in the world has her own blog now. Check it out...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Clean House OCD?

It has been a lifelong dream of mine to develop clean house OCD. I keep trying to get it, but it just won't develop. So the other day, I told my kids: "We are going to clean house ALL DAY." And I wasn't kidding. We cleaned house for 12 hours. I can hear the protests out there. I realize that my children worked for 12 hours. I didn't pay them, but we DID order pizza, and it was AMAZING. I'm so glad that Papa John's is back in town. Apparently, I don't know how to make my own melty garlic butter. The weird thing is, my children actually enjoyed their day. We discovered toys we had lost, cleaned out the corners, wiped down baseboards...and had a general good time. We listened to "Swing and Big Band" on the cable radio, and worked like rented mules.

My home is still clean. And I'm scared. We watched the Stepford Wives again this weekend, and I keep walking into my house and in my mind I hear the screechy-scary music that plays when we see Bette Midler's CLEAN house. I think I've developed a temporary case of clean house OCD, and I'm wondering if I'm a robot. I even put on heels with my jeans today. And coral earrings. I got up to say goodbye to my husband. The next thing you know I'm going to be putting on pearls and a pretty dress to go to the grocery store. I might start saying things like: "I don't need to work out, I work so hard to keep my house clean...I don't have time, or any extra energy." If that happens, please have an intervention. I hope this isn't my midlife crisis. That wouldn't be very exciting at all.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Balancing Truth with Fiction

Two of the children in my house are approaching their teen years. They don't lie to themselves anymore about my faults. In fact, having a pre-teen is a great window into my "true" self. If I was holding on to any false dellusions regarding my sin nature, I'm sure that I will be forcefully invited to several "come to Jesus" meetings over the next few years. I realize that it is my job to parent my growing children, but I'm forever amazed by their blatant honesty that is often a word of wisdom I needed. Frankly, with their sense of humor, we have a lot of laughs around here as we discover more about each other.

On the other hand, I have two younger children who still see me with the eye of their fancy. Last night, Little Mr. Man came to my bedside as I was reading. I was deep in the world of "Dante's Inferno" (which is by the way...SO amazing), and he knew I needed to concentrate. So he said, "Mom, I know you're busy, but there are just SO many things I want to talk to you about. When I grow up, I want to marry you SO much, but I know you have a husband already so I can't. I love you so much, it's like a volcano bursting~!"

Stuck in the middle between harsh truth and loving fancy, I don't know who I am anymore ;0).

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Things are ALWAYS perfect THIS moment.

I've had a lot of fun internally (and let's be honest blatantly in your face) laughing at the business "Creative Memories," because I can't get over the name. In my mind, it is as if we as mothers choose to be "creative" with the memories we have of our idyllic parenting and Martha Stewart home life. I realize it's more about the cute stickers and such, but don't the idealists in the world try to paint each memory and situation as "a great experience" ? Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Tonight I listen to my children playing together in the background. Big Sis and Little Sis are getting along downloading iTunes, laughing and talking....missing each other after having been apart for a week. I imagine them talking and laughing together in their mid twenties. Big Bub and Lil Mr. Man are building ramps for Lil Mr. Man's new cars and getting along famously. I wonder if they will consult one another in matters of family leadership when they are men.

I hope that their memories are creative, that they choose to remember times like these of the camaraderie they shared growing up. It warms my heart to see their companionship and friendship grow...glimpses of their future relationships seem to be most visible when these children play happily together.

Today, I will be creative with my memories. I don't want to forget days like this. The temper-tantrums of yore are but a shadow in my mind. After all, we ALL want to be remembered in the best light. Our children are no different. Today, I am not a realist. I am a realistic optimist.

Monday, June 9, 2008

To My New Love: Google Reader.

Blogging Addiction Haiku:
Loads of time to spare,
Because of Google Reader-
I read books instead.

How to Haiku:
Wanting to save time?
Sign in to Google Reader.
Subscribe, cruise and read.

And finally, a commonplace from Kip Dynamite to all my bloggy readers "Oh, I love technology, but NOT as much as you, you see, but STILL I love technology (tear) always and FOREVER."

Friday, June 6, 2008

Universe #2

I often have wondered what it would be like to live beside a parallel universe. One in which we get to be the same person that we are, we get to have the same family, friends, and loved ones, but we get to try out different decisions and paths. It would probably be necessary for the other "us" to live about 10 years prior to the time frame we are actually living in. We could see if our decisions worked out or not. You know--a little twilight zone-ish.

I have an unquenchable addiction to novelty and change (haven't I mentioned this repeatedly?). As a late teen, this was seen as "fickle." I remember that in High School, there was a guy who was chasing me, and I couldn't bear the thought of going out with him, mostly because he wore "Zips" tennis-shoes. Getting "sicked out" over things like shirt colors, or what a person (boy) liked to eat was common for me. I suppose the more relevant term here is "shallow," not "fickle." But I still wonder--why do certain things make us tick while others cause us to shut down? Are "quirky" decisions wrong when they are not violating any Biblical, moral, or ethical codes of conduct? Maybe God allowed me to be an insane person, hating "Zips" tennis shoes to keep me from a path that was not the best for me. Maybe sometimes we need to let others make their minor and personal choices even if their reasons don't make sense to us.

I wish I had an "experimental Dalene" in Universe #2 right now, trying on for size some of the life decisions that I will be making over the course of the next few years. I'd like to see how they work out for her. In the meantime, I'll just step out in Faith. I suppose the lack of control is a bit of the point.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Game...

Well you go. This is evidence that I'm a good sport! ;o)

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What were you doing ten years ago?
On a scale of one to ten, this week was probably a negative two. It was the stuff memories are made of.

What are five things on your to-do list for today?
1.) Write Thank-You Notes
2.) Read more of Silas Marner
3.) Figure out how to transfer my video film to DVD's.
4.) I'm doing it.
5.) Run

What are some snacks you enjoy?
I don't know. Whatever.

What would you do if you were a billionaire?
Whatever I want to do.

What are three of your bad habits?
Only three? Hmm.... Well... there's...and... and... and... and oh ya, that. I can't forget THAT.

I guess it would be my love for hillbilly air conditioning, my inability to put my Christmas tree away, and my habit of eating gnats when I run.

Hey...this game isn't very fun anymore.

What are five places where you have lived?
Salina, KS
Spencer, NE
Fayetteville, AR
Wichita, KS
Bethany, OK

What are five jobs you have had?
Insurance Clerk
Mental Health Case Manager
Elementary School Social Worker
Big Brothers & Sisters Case Manager
Coffee Shop Owner

What is currently playing on your iPod?
The last thing I listened to was an "Improve Your Endurance" track. Lots of crazy hip-hop. It's probably a good thing that it gets edited ! I don't think my endurance improved.

What were the last five or six books you read?
Treasure Island
The Great Divorce
The Grapes of Wrath
The Confessions of St. Augustine (a MUST READ)
The Great Gatsby
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow & Rip Van Winkle
oh...(and I know I'm going over) Old Man and the Sea

Who do you want to tag?


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hillbilly Air Conditioning

Please try to overlook the dirty just came in out of our garage, and was RUNNING when this pic was I didn't notice the dirt. The pan is an OLD pan (did you notice?) that we keep for occasions such as these. I was tempted to refrain from posting this, but honestly, how could I resist? In addition, I think the dirt adds to the hillbilly effect. PLEASE DON'T EVER ACCUSE OUR FAMILY OF NOT BEING CREATIVE. My husband came up with this contraption. Our fan blew out on our AC. I would be a liar if I didn't tell you that I actually LIKE the fact that we are "roughing it." I keep telling him..."let's wait to fix it until June...I actually am having fun." He's not having fun. He's going to get the fan tomorrow. Dern Yankee.
Goodbye Hillbilly Air. Thanks for keepin it real. My sweat and I will miss you.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Summertime Gremlins

(Don't worry Chandy, I'm working on filling out the questionnaire and you can look forward to an awe-inspiring answer soon... ) In the meantime...

My children are Gremlins. I don't even know what that means, because I don't remember anything about Gremlins, except they're furry and crazy. Mr. Clyde made this observation last night at 12:20am.

You see, I have a problem. It's called: Summertime Freedom. For some reason, I see summer as one continual party. It seems that ANY bedtime is appropriate, and I even found myself asking Mr. Clyde to buy me CHOCOLATE at 11pm. This is NOT something that I normally do (and NO, there is not a cat in the bag in this part of the woods). Perhaps this is why I like teenagers so much...I share their desire for novelty and fun. That reminds me...I'm not sure if it was lack of sleep or if this is really funny, but one of the teens showed me a video at about 1:00am, and I cried SO hard when I watched it. My face was WET with tears of joy and laughter. I just now watched it again, and it doesn't seem funny at all. I was going to post the video, but I noticed there were a couple of "curse" words, and I'm leaving it out in honor of the Gremlins who read my blog. If you're a "grown up," you might enjoy the video. It's YouTube "Food Court Musical." Hope you enjoy it. Here's to SUMMERTIME FUN!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I'm in Chicago on the "senior" trip with students from my school. Opportunities for reality checks abound.
  1. I do not know their music.
  2. They actually think I know what I'm doing here.
  3. They do not know my music.
  4. I need to text message more (apparently).
  5. I prefer comfy shoes to cute shoes.

If I needed to be reminded that I am a grown-up, this did it. Not only am I grown, but I'm GROWN. I'm grown, because for the first time in years, I actually think they (teens) have this secret society that I don't understand.

We're having a blast, and I've managed to be the grown up, and I don't even feel cheated because of it! Reality check: I'm grown up.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Don't feed the monster....

WARNING: The following post is in no way a pre-meditated attempt at any form of humor whatsoever. If you need a chuckle, go to you-tube and search for something to make you laugh. I daresay that comedy will not be contained in this post.

Ahh....glorious conflict. I was recently reading my nephew's Facebook, and noticed that he had joined a group called something like this: "For all the people who like to be throwing their stuff around, and then when I'm all ready to go hulk on them, they wimp out." The fact of the matter is, the group was filled with swear words, but you get the point. I "get it" that my nephew has this amazing sense of humor, and I got a "tearful" laugh (the best kind) after reading all of the entries from people who joined that group. Since then, however, I find myself saying (like...a lot), "Okay, I'm going to look into this, but if it doesn't work out, I'm gonna go HULK." My husband has told me I'm no longer allowed to use the terminology "I'm gonna go HULK." I honestly don't know why. I think it's a cute phrase.

The point is- Why is it that when there is conflict, we tend to choose between two responses? We either retreat into our shell, or we "go HULK." Maybe this isn't the experience everyone has, but being the extremist I am, this is my unfortunate methodology. However, since teaching at a classical school, I have gained a new appreciation for the necessity of examination. It is very important to know that TRUTH is rarely on the surface, and must be SEARCHED out. This often involves painful digging. If it's really deep, perhaps dynamite and explosives are necessary to get to the root of the problem. Why are we so afraid of discussion these days? I want to be open to hear things I don't want to, but at the same time, I don't want to constantly be worried about "hurting someones feelings." the phrase "hurt feelings" in the Bible? Just curious.

There is a time for honesty...graciously applied. Hulk can stay home, but so can the turtle.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Today is Mr. Mc Man's Birthday.

Apparently, the "buffalos" in the background need to be killed by this little warrior. He clearly is ready for the hunt, and I know that mean look sent them to their death.
Here is the cutest little thing I've ever seen. I realize that I'm prejudice, but I gotta tell you, anyone who is that good with a wagon is a friend of mine. You don't see a knife and a saw in the back of the wagon, because let's face it, that would be plum irresponsible for me to let him try to "saw" down a tree. I mean, really...we're not living in 1731. His hand on the handle of the saw doesn't mean anything....

If you need any "hunting" done around your house, you know who to call... Not only is he a buffalo hunter, but a master craftsman, as evidenced by this creation.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Hide the Granola

I betrayed someone that I love very much, and I need to confess. There is a cathartic effect associated with public humiliation, and as I very much desire to be relieved of the guilt, I think I need to just "get it out there."

Here it goes....

This is hard but necessary....

I have a secret addiction. This addiction has been weighing heavily upon me through the years. Rovenstine Taco's and I have been secretly meeting , and as a result, I have hurt someone that I love very much. Granola with Berries and Walnuts, I really love you, but honestly--sometimes, you just don't have the spice that I'm looking for. The fact is, I try to resist Rovenstine Tacos, but I feel helpless to resist the greasy advances.

It's the classic binge cycle. Put it off. Try to resist. Just forget about it. "It's not advocado season, it won't work." Distract yourself with carrots. Try to eat a banana. Big Salads are nice.

"Resistance is futile. You know you want a soft, greasy, meaty, cheesy bite. Just go ahead. Buy the corn shells. Ask the kids what they want for dinner. They'll say it. Then it won't be your fault. It's Mothers Day...go ahead...ask them for suggestions for lunch."

Hide the scale. Leftovers are heaven. Eat them for a snack. Eat them before bed. Eat them after school. Make 'em greasy....

Hide the granola. The granola can't watch this......

Friday, May 9, 2008

Should They Really Be Called Weekends?

Because I really feel that it is not the weak-end. It seems to be the strong-end. Friday is my "dia de rejuvenation." This means (if this could possibly be....possible), that I try very hard to have NO agenda on Friday nights. Gone are the days of my social calendar. Lost are the "Blockbuster Excursions" (thanks Netflix), and adios to "fabulous" Friday.

Friday is my "I'm allowed to melt into a puddle" day. Today after school, I took a nap from 5-6:30pm. This type of irresponsible sleep schedule is available on only one day. The day that says to me : "You don't have to do anything today, because you have an entire weekend before you to catch up on that list. Besides, didn't you and your children clean the entire house LAST weekend? Look at it--- the house is filthy again, you stinkin' might as well put off cleaning it until tomorrow, because really, what's the point? You're a hopeless domestic goddess."

But you see...Friday can talk to me like that, because Friday is a good friend. Our relationship is based on openness and honesty, so we don't hide things from each other. Friday accepts me, and I no longer ask it to "give me a good time." I still have to hide part of my "real" feelings from Tuesday. We've been in a relationship for 37 years, but honestly it's empty.

Friday, you are my hero....strong because you let me be weak.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mommy Therapy

I love recollecting my first baby shower. I was working at a mental health clinic, and my co-workers went together and purchased a car seat. One of the cards that was attached read, "I'm sure your children will need minimal amounts of therapy."

I "laughed" to myself at the time, honestly thinking... "I hope they need NO therapy." As the years have gone on, however, I have often found myself struggling with infamous "Mommy guilt," as I realize I am woefully imperfect. I am reassured when I realize that the BEST lessons in life will be directed in ways that I cannot orchestrate, and will be taught by their Father. Somehow, however, I manage to find things to feel guilty about....

*I feel guilty that I haven't had a sleepover with my little Fishies in the "Big Room" for several weeks.

*I feel guilty that we haven't taken a family bike-ride in months.

*I feel guilty that I refuse to buy my children jeans because summer is just around the corner...and I KNOW they will never put them on ONCE in the Oklahoma heat. Thus, they may be gaining a reputation for being the "ratty" kids at school.

*I feel guilty that I haven't taken Big Bub out for an "Eggberts" midnight date in months.

*I feel guilty that it seems to take an act of congress to encourage me to keep milk in the refrigerator. What happened to milk DELIVERY? SIGN ME UP!!!

I heard teachers say in the past, the cliche-- " I like teaching for three reasons, June, July, and August..." but I have to say that although I can't imagine loving a job more (because I truly never have), I am GREATLY looking forward to a LOT of time with the little Fishie's this summer! I'm not sure who needs "Mommy Therapy" more. Me? or Them?