Friday, February 29, 2008

It's Our Fourth Anniversary Today!!!

Easy Livin'? It's our fourth anniversary today, and I am compelled to say--yes--absolutely. It hasn't been easy because we've both found happiness everyday. It hasn't been easy because we've never had a "rough word" (can you say "Jerry Springer" moments?). It hasn't been easy because we've always had enough cash, perfect health, or constant entertainment. What has made my life easy is that I have a husband who is always willing to forgive, and when necessary, seek forgiveness. My husband is a hard worker, a concerned father, and a sacrificial servant. We have our share of stories--big scary stories no no....shhh.... can't be talked about in public. Easy living? Yes, because I hate to think of myself--arrogant, self-righteous, and opinionated---without his humbling effects! Hey...God...thanks. You knew what you were doing. Thanks, Mr. Clyde for 16 life-changing years, and four amazing children. Look at what God made!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Running the Gammet of Emotions

I thought I'd finally upload some pics from Austin. I've avoided this because well...they're pretty horrible. But how should someone look at this point? The first is of my brother and me (isn't he handsome?). The second...well there's were the story lies. Take note of my face as well as the face of my Little Mr. Man. This is the face of a woman who has run through a full gammet of emotions in the previous 20 minutes. Elation--"I finished the race in respectable (for me) time." Companionship- "Oh! Look, there's my family." Physical Pain "Ouch...I ran too hard on these knees... serious pain!" Shock--"WHERE's Mr. Man? WHAT???? WHERE's Mr. Man?" Ten minutes later... police and race officials prepare to issue an Amber Alert. Desperation---comfort from a stranger, "I'm sure we'll find him, there are a lot of people here!" Fear--"THAT's JUST WHAT I'm AFRAID OF!" Relief-- Big Bub finds Mr. Man wandering off down an Austin street...alone and lost. Thankfulness-- God was good to us. We were shaken, but grateful. Denial--- barely being able (still) to put myself back into that moment, but it is a praise, so I need to share it. The pic shows the mutual pain of Mr. Man and Mommy.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tuned Out

I'm driving along in my car, heavy in contemplation, during evening taxi duty. Hey...there's a new billboard.... some kids playing too close to the street... a new sign is up at that church... should I stop and get a diet coke?..."HEY STOP FIGHTING WITH YOUR SISTER!..." What? What is that playing on my radio? Oh dear me oh my...I'm listening to country music. I have CHOSEN to listen to this. NOT THAT THERE's ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT. Forgive me, you Nashville Fans out there, but I gave up my CMT addiction in the early 90's. Nowadays, when I find myself tuned in, it's generally an indication that I'm tuned out.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Parked on a Lie

A wise man once said that advertising is the only form of legalized lying. How true. How true. Did anyone see the article online today: "Dog Drives Man's Car." My mind was riddled with how this could possibly be true, but I realize that miracles happen. Rovenstine lore remembers that my father had my brother drive the car next to wheat fields in Kansas in 1964. Don't worry. He was four years old, so it's okay....all he had to do was steer a car that was in "drive," while my father walked the field to measure it's length. I think it was rigged up with a yard stick or something for the brake. I'm sure I have some details wrong, but you get the idea. My brother, prior to setting off to Kindergarten, drove a car-alone. Normal. Normal. Normal. Since this idea is embedded in my mind, it wasn't much of a stretch for me to imagine a dog driving a car.

Wrong. Hey news people. Please don't say that taking a car out of "park" and sticking your head out of the window to bark at a passing squirrel and then licking yourself qualifies as "driving." When headlines outshine stories, the headlines in question should be changed. Once again, I feel cheated. You may call it naivete if you like, I call it TRUST. My hope for humanity is lost. heart breaks for the poor soul who built my hopes up only to let me down. How do you live with yourself? Put your car in drive and cruise away from the dark side.

Friday, February 22, 2008

It's All About Me

Wow... This makes me laugh and sad all at the same time. I have felt very convicted during my worship time at church after someone showed me this a few months ago. Made me evaluate WHY I worship. Thankfully, I realize that the Psalmist used a PLETHORA (thank you Three Amigos for this useful word) of personal pronouns, so I realize they aren't in and of themselves "evil." However, I have found myself distracted by them lately. I think this video is HILARIOUS, but if you're easily offended, DON'T WATCH IT!!!!!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Domestic Goddesses Beware.

It's a bit rough being married to someone who is so much better at all of the things that I should excel at. I'm really not sure how Mr.Clyde puts up with me. As previously stated, he is a better gift-giver, and shopper. However, let it be noted that he is also MUCH MORE detail-oriented than I am. You can tell this by the misleading disarray that seems apparent on the outside of our house. You see, he simply won't do ANYTHING until he can do it RIGHT. I'd much rather just give it 30% effort and then sit down and read a good book.

If we had to live on my income (a teacher or social-worker), I'm pretty sure our family of six would be below poverty level. It's really too bad, because SNAP he'd be such a better housewife than I am!!! This guy is full of nurturing instincts. Today, he came home from work (at 8:30pm) and decided to bake a few potatoes, because he noticed they were on the verge of going bad. He boiled the rest and made mashed potatoes, and then "made good use" of the chicken I "bought" from the grocery store yesterday by peeling all of the meat off the bones, and making chicken salad complete with pecans, grapes, and green apples.

Please don't ever ask him about his favorite household appliance- the Rainbow Vac, because it's getting old and I'm sure he thinks of it as our first child. He does things like "vacuuming walls" with it.

Pretty #3 wanted a bite to eat tonight, and he insisted that she sit down and let him serve her, because "she's a princess." Conversely, I'm generally known to say, "You know where the bowls are, be independent!"

Gee we're lucky to have him.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I'm fascinated by words.

Today, I observed a license plate that said this: BIGRACE. I honestly don't know what this means. Does it mean Big Grace, or Big Race? I don't know what to contemplate regarding these words. The implications of the opposing answers carry very different connotations. Therefore, I will be eternally bothered by the old guy's intentions.

A certain unnamed someone seems to share my fascination with the use and misuse of statements. Don't ask me who this someone is because I will take the secret of his/her identity to my grave (well...maybe not).

While I can't share this individual's intense PASSION for the ABSURDITY of the following statement, I agree that it is positively idiotic. Chew on this: "Authorized Personnel ONLY." I'll give you a minute to think about that.

If they are authorized, do they need to be told that they are "authorized?" Clearly, authorized personnel already know that they are authorized, so it is unnecessary to point that out to them. If the message is in fact for everyone else, just cut the "nice guy vague ambiguous shenanigans," and just say "Keep Out."

Oh well, I'll just use the standards of BIGRACE to evaluate the mental clarity of those involved in coming up with these things........ tee hee hee.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sibin Reyevelrie

Thare aint no rezin fer it.

Aint. One.

I don't be undersandin it.

Not un bit.

Wha??? Wha??? WHa????

Sumin, pleez be tellin meh.

Wha dem kidz be gettin all up in each uthers face?

They brudus. And Sistus.

God be givin em to eachuthu.

Wha aint they seein dat?

I'z turd uv it.

MMMM....Clif Bars, Pop, Rolo's and Chips!

"Mom, I'm hungry, can we go to the Gas Staion?"


...If only this was an anomaly.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

13.1-- Priceless.

Registration Fee-$75
New Shoes-$105
Gasoline to Austin-$180
Special Insoles-$35
Fee to train at a Gym-$120
Fanny Pack-$35
Clinical Stength Deodorant-$8
Sports Beans-$4
Clif Bloks-$2

Running HALF of a big race and finishing near your big SWEATY brother, Priceless.

Honestly, running 13.1 is a walk in the park compared to 26.2. I'm not really sure it's appropriate to call them both "marathons"- even with the word HALF in front of one. 13.1 is hard(ish), but doesn't even TOUCH the demands of 26.2. Still, it is fun and requires some preparation.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Reality Checks and Revelations

I heard a comedian once talk about the fact that she had the "opposite" of anorexia-- she was fat but THOUGHT of herself as skinny. I have a similar problem. I'm terribly unfashionable, but think of myself as "put together." I looked into the mirror today at school and was reminded that the hem of my pants were frayed because I haven't bothered to hem them after I let them out in a frenzy... oh well. I also noticed that there were several stains on my shirt. After school, I glanced in the rear-view mirror, and noticed half of my bangs sticking straight up. Last week, I got tired of my hair, so I just cut off about four inches... by myeslf, and then had my 10 year old check it. Reality check: I'm NOT "put together."

A few of you might know just how much I HATE HATE HATE HATE HHHHAAAATTTTEEE shopping. I'd rather stick a pin in my arm. Really. I realize this is part of the problem. I've considered giving someone money to just "buy" clothes for me. If I could afford it, I would definitely use the services of a personal shopper. I often need friends along to help me make wise clothing choices...even down to picking out the right SIZE. This seems very complicated to me. Mr. Clydie-pooh and I like to shop for the girls for Christmas. HE is the one going "OH, just look at this dress, isn't it adorable? Wouldn't she just look adorable in it? .... We HAVE to find a super-cool shirt for her to wear with these pants. Wow! Did you see this? Buy that and save it till summer." Me.... "blah blah blah. let's buy something and GO! Is there a coffee shop around here?"

So the other day, feeling a mounting pressure to refrain adopting nick-names from my students ie: "Crazy-Hair," "Stain-Lady," or "Frumpy-Teach," I decided that I might do a little shopping. Of course, I was immediately drawn to the 80% off rack. I couldn't exactly put my finger on WHY I wasn't finding anything I liked, so after spending several minutes in other areas of the store, I returned the single shirt I had considered purchasing to it's friends on the 80% off rack. On the end of the rack, I noticed an adorable shirt that said: "Who needs Santa when you have Grandma?" Revelation: Apparently I'm drawn to the same section of the store as 65 year old ladies. hmmm.....

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Classroom Laughter.

O!!... the irony

I had already been chastised once today by this particular student for my incessant need to use "big words." However, when we were later discussing expressing love by "entering someone's world," I "wisely" gave a second example.

me- "It's don't necessarily trust condescending advice from people who just want to 'tell you how it is,' because you may think that they simply don't understand your perspective. It's nice to feel that they actually care about your experiences and make an attempt to meet you where you are."

student-"what does condescending mean?"

me- "It's sort-of like when someone talks down to you. They can't just simply enter your world. ...wait...stop...ha ha...O! the irony."

Classroom laughter.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Forecast: Dancing.

It's a good thing I made roast-beast for dinner. In between taking the others to ballet, choir, and basketball, little Mr. Man and I had a chance to eat alone. He will make someone a very happy woman some day. He asked, "Mom, would you like it to be candlelight?" "And I'll show you the glasses" (stemware). We had a chance to talk about whether or not you could actually cut fog with a knife. When we heard the elevator music playing in the other room during "Local on the 8's," he asked me if I would like to dance. Yes, the Weather Channel always makes me feel like dancing, thank you.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Life Sans Eggshells

God, thanks for a carefree evening, sans eggshells. Could have been rough, but somehow You made it special.

After our obligatory naps, we were blessed by:

A Science Fair that prompted us to spend hours with our children when we should have been "working" instead. Dad and boy building in the garage. Mom and girl measuring and recording. Big smiles, grateful hearts, and shouts for joy when we realized Aristotle had it right, and we can prove it!

A dirty dog that prompted father-son bonding. Wash. Treat. Dry. Trim. Giggle (yes I did say father-son and giggle in the same line).

Long blonde hair braided at night so it will be "set" to match a friend tomorrow at school.

Writing stories about "My Family" for 2nd grade class: "My family likes to laugh and talk." Grocery shopping (for upcoming Leave it to Beaver) week -just the two of us girls-, with smiles and conversation.

Big blue eyes that need kissing before bed, and an imagininative mind that constantly seeks to have God clarified. "But God isn't actually like an egg, because an egg has FOUR parts--a shell, the white part, the yellow part AND SKIN, MOM!! So see, I told you, God is NOT like an egg."

No. Not like an egg at all.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Somebody Slap Me.

When you see me next time, slap me on the face. Make it hard enough for me to remember, but not so hard as to actually "hurt."

Two weeks ago, at the gentle suggestion of a sweet friend, I MADE A MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK (see PTSD post). I bought groceries according to the plan, and we had such a "Leave it to Beaver" week, I had to check my image in the mirror a few times just to make sure I was the mom in the story. Luckily, there is a mirror in our dining room, so I could verify this fact WHILE eating the meals that I prepared.

I've created a plethora of elaborate meal plans, but rarely stick to them. Therein lies the problem. It is not enough to make plans, you have to actually EXECUTE those plans. Anyway, this last week, I just thought I'd "wing it," and because of this, it was like a reality TV show at my house. What makes Reality TV interesting? Extremes. Either extreme neurosis or extreme chaos. Pick one.

Tomorrow (because why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?), I will make a plan for next week. Because of this plan, my home will be the picture of serenity, organization, and family bonding. Reminders in the form of metaphorical or actual slaps would be appreciated. I am the unfortunate picture of Romans 7:14-20 (if having a meal plan makes you a "better" Christian). You can't talk me out of the reality that not nurturing of my family appropriately (spiritually AND physically) is a sin. Like I said, SLAP AWAY.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Simple Request for Dental Flattery

If you haven't been able to surmise by now, let me bring you straight to the illuminating epiphany of my life philosophy... I try to keep my expectations rather low so that it always seems that my family and I are SOARING like EAGLES above them. It would be like deciding to go "exercise" at the mall by walking laps, but then changing your mind and running 5 miles instead. Grand improvement.

This philosophy does wonders for my cautiously optimistic view of life. However, I'm haughty, proud, and down-right puffed-up about one thing. I'm a peacock strutting about, and I expect this fact to be noticed by someone that I PAY to complement me.

Mr. Dentist, when a 36 year old woman has NEVER HAD A CAVITY, do you think that you could find some affirmation greater than "keep up the good work" ? My hopes are crushed when you don't FULLY APPRECIATE my lack of DECAY. Jeepers, throw me a bone here. I waited for the accolades, but there was silence instead. Later, I saw you mindlessly playing RuneScape on your computer while listening to your iPod. young foolish boy. My heart aches for you.

Is my level of dental cleanliness an everyday occurence? Shouldn't my teeth be featured in some sort of national dental publication? I don't know... I feel used....for money. Is our relationship only important if I become NEEDY? Oh, I get it now--you're co-dependent. You only develop professional relationships with patients who have "cavities," or "gingivitis." I feel so USED!

We will continue to see one another once every six months, and although I have no idea what your name is (and probably never will), I will never forget that....I was invisible to you.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Let me tell you about RovyRunners. This is a rag-tag group of "picked-last-for-dodgeball" relatives who are doing amazingly athletic things. I guess this isn't entirely fair to say about those Rovenstine's who have the benefit of an additional source of gene's (that they haven't always been "athletic"), but it's pretty accurate of my brothers and me.

Growing up, we did things like "band," "youth-group," and "eating-out." When my brothers went to college, they played intramural sports, but I did not. I remember watching them play some "game" a couple of times, and all I remember, is that they had a LOT of testosterone, that was translated into SCRappy stick-to-itiveness, and a great deal of ANGER.

Basically, we learned to endure. Stick with it. My most athletically gifted brother must not feel all of the angst that the other four of us do (repressed unfulfilled athletic prowess), because although his knees prevent him from participating in marathons with the rest of us, he doesn't seem bothered by it in the least (I personally realize that he would be the best if his body would allow him to run). He has previously proven his superiority in the athletic arena (sorry you other three, I don't make the facts, I just report them). This was proven at the appropriate time-- during his early twenties.

The amazing discovery for every one of us--in our late 30's to late 40's, is that we can "Run, Rovy, Run!!!" I wonder what we could have done if we would have started this at a "normal" time in life? Mick got us started, Allen keeps us motivated, Nate keeps us challenged, and I just keep tagging along. My niece Amber has qualified for Boston. Aubrie is just little miss dedication. In addition, Kurt's wife Deb is a cracker-jack runner! Our running keeps my parents motivated to keep walking-taking excellent care of their diabetes.

The grand blogosphere will undoubtedly be subjected to more chatter on this topic in the future from the baby of a family of five. I personally am simply a "finisher," with nary a hope of ever being "fast," so it's not about a fast finish for me, but the journey. Don't ever EVER delude yourself that I'm "athletic," because that, dear, would be a laughable falsehood.

I've gained a fair amount of weight since last fall during the "season," and I'm struggling with knee and shoulder issues. But shucks, if running 26.2 keeps me connected with these four boys that I have idolized and adored since I was a burping, spitting babe, as well as a few ladies that are on the top of my list (other Rovenstine females), I'll just keep running. Besides, it means I can drink soda and junk food and keep burping and spitting.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Raising, Praising, and Lovingly Hazing

I worked in mental health for several years. Due to the constant need for "continuing education," I was subjected to a plethora of "parenting" classes. This could explain my aversion to "guidelines" regarding raising children. I've heard everything. "Consistency is important," "Never be consistent--keep them guessing." One thing was consistent in the inconsistent flow of advice. You should praise your children often (actually some people are now saying this creates a false sense of "success").


I was thinking, however, that I could create a new refrigerator magnet to replace the "101 Ways to Praise Your Child" magnet on my (garage) fridge. It would be called "101 Ways to Annoy Your Child." Here are some ideas that I've been testing out off and on for the last few years:

1.) Give your children a blank stare while humming one note continuously while they ask you for the 10th time if they can play video games (or now...WebKinz).
2.) Sing loudly and off key to the radio while your children fight in the back seat during evening taxi duty.
3.) Tell them they must wait until "payday" until you buy them essentials such as toothpaste and socks. Buy it for them anyway.
4.) Change chore guidelines at least every other week.
5.) Squirt them with waterguns in the morning when they don't get up by the 3rd call.
6.) Randomly insist that all communication must be in the form of a "song." DO NOT RESPOND TO "talking."
7.) Hope that your children fight so that you can assign them jobs around the house as punishment. Provoke them if necessary (just kidding).
8.) Continue hugging them even if they think they are "too big" (they are secretly glad you are doing it).
9.) Write about them on the World Wide Web.
10.) Just "be yourself" with no discretionary parental filter.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Fool's Hill

I remember when I was still climbing "Fools Hill." Oh, what a mountain. Once, as a teenager, my grandfather wrote me a letter expressing his concern regarding my quest to conquer Fool's Hill. I think he had his doubts. Every Rovenstine who had a "proper" upbringing was given an education on the perils of the journey to the top of this summit. Basically, it was understood that we all must climb "Fools Hill" as a rite of passage. Whether your personal "Fool's Hill" was a dangerous, steep snake-infested fright fest or a hill in your back yard that you build a tree-house on, skipping around holding hands with your best friend while violins and harps play in the background, was up to you. Any time a young Rovenstine was making poor decisions, we simply stated in a matter-of-fact way that they had not yet conquered Fools Hill. It never occured to me when I was a teenager that I wasn't a fool. I knew it, and I knew I must overcome my foolishness.

I think that the transparency that is required in my family of origin was a precious gift. I never felt threatened by Fools Hill! It helped that the Rovenstine's were always confident that every little mountain climber would eventually reach that summit. It was simply a question of..."when?"

Just trying to keep up the tradition, today I asked my teenager-this-year if he realized he will be climbing Fools Hill soon. Mono-tone, dry response with a slight twisted smirk: "Of course, you've only told me that about a hundred times."

See...I can't climb that hill for him. He must do it for himself. The best part about Fools Hill, though, is that it's sort-of a period of discovery and fun. It is nasty at times...storms come, thorns get stuck on your britches, and there is blood and sweat. Along the journey, however, there are sunrises, sunsets, Nacho-Libre adventures into the "wilderness" (personal isolation in the next room), and crazy survival antics. I'm rather looking forward to being a spectator and a consultant as he climbs that big-ole Hill. I'm laughing already. I'm sure he'll come out on top.

Friday, February 1, 2008


Last fall, before I knew much about my cousin Charissa's plans for adopting a child from the Ukraine, I was delighted when I was reading Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queen (perhaps I did not read this particular portion in college when we read the Faerie Queen in our anthologies), because of Spenser's description of a character named Charissa.

Spenser's Charissa was the epitome of Christian charity. She taught the Redcross Knight, in his quest for holiness, to nurture and care for his spirit- to seek holiness and flee from evil. She had many children hanging about her, and she was kind and generous. You can read the entire passage:

I wonder if my Uncle Tim and Aunt Roberta named their daughter after this character? I cannot imagine anyone else in all my literary readings who better represents my real-life-cousin Charissa! I realize this may be an ambiguous post, but if you know Charissa Urban, and you can understand Spenser's Faerie Queen, I'm sure you'll agree the similarities are positively uncanny.

My delight wasn't in this particular character, per se, so much as it was in the fact that I wondered if Spenser had looked into the heart of my own dear cousin Charissa. I am delighted that she and her dear husband Johnny are the proud new parents of Ava Alina Grace Urban! They are on their way home. Their story is amazing and inspiring. You can keep up with the transition by visiting her blog-


Okay. WHO does this? Apparently, my son does. I was informed today that it was unecessary to take the wrapper off of a piece of chewing gum. You simply bite into it. Logically, since you don't SWALLOW the gum, there is no need to unwrap it. Of course, this makes perfect sense.

Conversely, we must only DIP into salsa, taking whatever means necessary to prevent eating a "chunk." Perhaps if it were possible to simply CHEW on a tomato without actually ingesting it, he could be inticed to use his mandibles on said fruit.