Thursday, April 30, 2009

Don the hats!

Tomorrow is Derby Days!

Our church has its biggest building fundraiser this time of year - a Derby Days luncheon inspired by the Kentucky Derby.

You gotta pay for the lunch and the entertainment. And you gotta wear a hat.

It's at a fancy resort and there's a fashion show.

Guess who will be modeling? My husband!

I hope to have some fun pictures tomorrow. He had "runway instruction" and everything. He'll do a little turn on the catwalk.

And I'll sip a mint julep in the audience and act sophisticated and put a lot of money on a horse afterward for the real Derby on Saturday.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Some readers skip the introductions to books. Maybe with good reason. You just wanna get to the story. My father always exhorts me to read the introduction. He believes there are priceless bits of wisdom and explanation there. Sometimes he's right.

In the case of Les Miserables, I read the introduction and absorbed a percentage of it. But now that I've reached page 904, I stole back to the intro to reread a bit I half-remembered and my, my, my! Such insight! This particular "introduction" should have been printed in the back of the book and retitled, "now-that-you've-read-the- book,-here's-some-interesting-info."

Here's an excerpt from the intro that stood out to me:

"Reading Les Miserables today, nobody would deny that Victor Hugo's prodigious flow of words occasionally produces moments of excess, when we might wish he had shown more restraint."

YA THINK??? Holy cow, this guy includes information for, in my opinion, at least four DIFFERENT novels. Maybe, just to toy with us, he threw it all together into a giant story casserole. You've got the meat, the story of Jean Valjean. And then you've got the noodles, sauce, and veggies in the 50 or so pages here and there about, say, the battle at Waterloo. Or Hugo's political commentary (rambling). Or discourse on French society.

Further, "While several abridged editions exist in English, that expedient seems a mistake. It is almost impossible to predict the individual detail, the flashing image or human quirk precisely observed, that will burn its way into a reader's mind for good....If the heightened rhetoric of elation and despair occasionally strains our patience or credulity, the quiet perception on the next page generally restores it."

This may be true. I'm somehow glad to have the book as Hugo intended it (though not in French), and while I have NO IDEA what his reason for including certain parts, those "flashing images or human quirks" he wrote so well do make it worth it. (Almost. I confess that, in my desire to find out what happened to the main character of the main story, I skimmed a couple dozen pages at one point and perhaps missed out on some brilliant sequence of words. I'll never know--I'm NOT going back and reading it again.)

So here I am with 559 pages left to read. If you're wondering, "Hm. Should I read Les Miserables?" The answer is yes. So I have someone to discuss it with.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Biting my nails, here...

Did I say I was going to homeschool?

WHY do all the forces of anxiety converge on ONE day???

On ONE day, these three things happened:

1) I realized that the registration date for the "homeschool" school I want to enroll my children in is this Friday. I've had the application filled out for over two months, but now it's this Friday and suddenly the date seems large and scary.

2) Joseph and I, in an ugly battle of wills over dental hygiene, both became blithering idiots (mostly me, since he's only eight - I'm supposed to be the adult) and at one point, in an unprecedented move, he said, "I don't WANT to homeschool!" What??? We're talking about PLAQUE, my son - not your education. Truthfully, I see what's going on --- but I was ready to cry. Just for a minute.

3) The school sent home their re-enrollment packets. Really? On this ONE day you had to do this?

Nothing like testing my convictions, eh?

Oh, and did I mention Kevin finished reading the famous Catholic Home Education book that won me over? SAME DAY. He's happy and confident and enthusiastic. (He was also notably absent during the dental hygiene brouhaha.)

Today I Saw:

- How easy it is to push a double stroller carrying two children weighing 60 pounds combined up a steep hill in the wind IF you're chatting with and walking beside an in-shape Pilates instructor who was, in VERY recent years "Ms. Fitness USA".

- An older gentleman in a golf hat filling the gas tank of a shiny black sedan. According to his license plate, he is a decorated veteran of the Marine Corps. In my imagination, I flashed back to a time in his past, probably on a gnarly battlefield somewhere, when he didn't have time to wonder if one day years in the future he'd enjoy a leisurely golf game and a cruise in his car.

- A Las Vegas taxicab pulled over to the side of the road. Being ticketed by a police officer. Very rare sight.

- A friend on the way to the airport. Going to a beloved father's funeral. This sight kinda trumps all the rest.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Me & Mountains

A friend of mine had her baby shower today at a restaurant on a hill overlooking the Las Vegas Valley. From the windows facing North, I could see the whole Strip skyline and clear to the opposite side of the valley. It was a breathtaking sight. But walking around to the South-facing windows, just mountains. That view evoked a whole different feeling. As much as I enjoyed the spectacle of the miles and miles before my eyes to the North - I was almost physically drawn to sit at a table on the mountain side and absorb that panorama.

There's something about mountains. Enjoying them today, I thought of Psalm 36:6 - "Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains..." I wonder what all I'm drawn to in mountains. I can see how the Psalmist calls them mighty. I'd call them majestic and strong and permanent and mysterious and pretty and... on and on. I must be in a contemplative mood. I'd like an hour or three or four to go sit and gaze at the mountains. The ones around here are so familiar --- would I rather gawk at the familiar peaks or travel far away to see mountains I've only heard of?

When I look at the nearest mountains, I attach certain memories to them.

Sunrise Mountain is all on its own on the Eastern side of town. It's really Frenchman's mountain, but nobody calls it that. As a young kid, I was hiking there with my family one evening when we stumbled upon a rattlesnake and my dad killed it with a rock. Its skin hung on our patio for years. In high school, our kitchen window had a nice view of Sunrise Mountain and I can remember my mom always appreciating her view while doing the dishes. During UNLV days, Kevin, Heather and I drove up there from time to time late at night to look at the lights and eat Ben & Jerry's. Later, I had a huge realization from that mountain one night that I really was called to ministry in Las Vegas, and it was no longer just my home town - it was also my mission field.

Mount Charleston is an hour North. The place to go to be in the snow when you live in Vegas. The place I broke my leg sledding with my boyfriend and some friends my senior year in high school. Attended church up there for maybe a year (that is a long and weird story for another day). Hiked a thousand hikes; attended and directed a dozen InterVarsity retreats; been to several weddings; sipped a few hot chocolates at the lodge; and now we take our kids to get out of town for half a day.

Red Rock and the Spring Mountains. So pretty. West of here, and not too far. Again, countless hikes, bunches of picnics, outdoor plays, watermelon seed spitting, burro sightings, bike rides, rock climbs, and stories from my dad's Search and Rescue Posse days of helicopter rescues of the "dummies who get themselves stuck on the rocks" as I've heard him say a hundred times. Somehow, in the mood I'm in, being stuck in the mountains sounds kinda nice tonight.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Because when you run... are strong. are clear-headed. meet great people. sweat. Not much else in your padded little life makes you sweat. overcome. keep healthy. And make your heart smile. combat stress and anxiety and anger and grief. face the cougars. see things non-runners miss.

...people cheer for you. Strangers even. Where else do you get cheered for? can race. And when you race, there's a finish line. have a hobby. can damn well have that "Teri-Love-sized" bowl of ice cream afterward.'s a beautiful day.

Here's to James Helfrich and Rachel Helfrich and Rhonda Marshall and Kevin Love and Maureen from HCA Architects and Dave & Julie Hansen and Magan Harper and Barry Diehl and Karen Richardson and Amy Wilhite and Melissa Ficklin and Merrilee Peterson and Rob Dixon and Layla Hanash and Runner's World Magazine. My running partners and running inspiration from 1992 until now, kinda in order. Not counting the various musical artists, living and dead, who keep me going.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Breakfast with a Storm Trooper

Who else would a four year-old girl elect to keep her company over a bowl of cereal?

On Fridays, what housewife can be expected to have every family member's drawers stocked with clean underwear? Not this one! One of our children went to school commando today. He wasn't ashamed, so neither am I.

Cayna lost her front tooth! During a picnic at the park while eating a popsicle, so it is wondrous it wasn't lost. Sweet little Gappy.

Just-turned 19 months-old John lounging on the couch. Look closely... he's hiding under a pillow.

Yesterday I said I like pictures of my accomplishments. Here you see a floor tile. Notable because it's clean. Twenty-four hours ago, it had splashes of Cran-Grape juice, crusty milk spill, dust, and other assorted crud all over it. Last night I mopped and it remains clean to this day. Twenty-four hours from now it likely will be dirty again, so let's just enjoy the magic while we can, shall we?

What's that? You say my grout is dirty? Have you no mercy? (Just talking to myself.)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

So, it turns out...

... I can make wedding cakes!

Maybe I did it because my talk at church tonight was on marriage and since I had to drop the "No Artificial Contraception" bomb again, I wanted to sweeten it with dessert? I'm being awful. It was actually a blessing to speak, and the tough crowd I'd anticipated was actually quite open-seeming. LOTS of single people, too - haven't had singles for an audience in a coon's age. (Shout out to my grandma for that expression. Just talked to a friend tonight about expressions grandmas use.) Anyhoo - it was a co-talk, and other than the contraception part, Kristi had the tougher half and laid all the groundwork with scripture and explanation. Between her part and my part, though - we had cake. "Let them eat cake!" (Not my grandma, there - but you knew that, right? - name who is credited with saying that famously and I'll mail you some cake) I made my first wedding cake. It was mostly good - very tasty, but not as pristine, frosting-wise as this perfectionist would have wanted. I did a triple layer on the bottom - lemon and vanilla - then a mini topper separated by "Grecian Columns" (SO fun!) and all decorated with artificial flowers. My buttercream frosting was a little on the loose side when I tossed it on, but all-in-all it turned out well. I'm VERY sad that right as we cut the last piece, we realized we hadn't taken even ONE photo. UGH!!! I like to have proof of my accomplishments! More props to Kristi for making props (I am on some roll tonight) - we had to stick skewers in the cake to keep it from leaning too much. I tell ya, cake is a stressful business. AND, since we aren't in business and don't own a refrigerated van we had to transport the thing in pieces in a Honda CRV without letting it slide, mush, or melt. Kristi about backhanded me when she pulled out into traffic, the cake leaned, and I screamed (very loud). She thought we were crashing and it scared her significantly. It was a good laugh (for me).

One last note - we have a strict "no food or drink in the classrooms" rule at church, which we occasionally break. We tiptoe around one custodian in particular who is - let's just say - stern. So I tried to be careful, but apparently I was a little on the klutzy side cleaning up afterwards and dropped a three-inch glob of frosting on the carpet. Moments later, carrying my punchbowl out of the room to dump the leftover punch in the shrubbery outside (you're welcome, bugs), it sloshed up and over the side and splashed all over the tile (thankfully) in the hall. Whispering, I asked Kristi which custodian was on duty and was relieved to hear it wasn't the "stern" one. I would have had to hide in my car.

Anyway, the talk is done. The kids are in bed. A few more Catholics now have a better understanding of what the Bible and the Church teach on marriage and sex. My punch bowl needs a rinse and then it's me, the couch, and another yummy Trader Joe's lime popsicle.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Involuntary Guest Author:

Dave Letterman

On my "comedy" book shelf is a 1990 copy of The Late Night With David Letterman Book Of Top Ten Lists. If I don't share a list with you, it's just going to waste.


10. Lick-proof

9. Owl-flavored

8. Hat-resistant

7. Trunk-ripened


5. Post-moistened


3. Casket-tested

2. Pants-happy


Every list contains references that either a.) I don't get; b.) are outdated; or c.) are offensive to a major people group. So I left them out. That's right - I censored them!!! I'm violating someone's rights! I'm such a rebel.

I'm still laughing. That guy (his writers) are hysterically funny.

Other selections on the humor shelf include Calvin & Hobbes; Shel Silverstein; The Far Side; Dave Barry; Deep Thoughts (several volumes, by Jack Handey); Erma Bombeck; Steve Martin; Ellen DeGeneres; Bloom County; Bil Keane; and a masterful collection from my childhood called How To Be Funny, by Jovial Bob Stine which I am very proud of.

I have a headache, it's hot out, a talk to work on that I've procrastinated, and only my laundry seems to keep me going - so I gotta laugh today. This helped.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I don't need a doctor, psychiatrist, midwife, chiropractor, or mom. I know my problem(s):

1) I'm angry, we all know that.

2) I have a teensy li'l bit of depression from time to time (though, as all those good therapists have told me - "depression is simply anger turned inward" so this can actually fit nicely under #1)

3) My hormones are out of whack. Currently, they're massively confused as to why I'm not pregnant again. This is so unlike me over the past nine years!

4) I have an addiction to reruns of "Yes, Dear." In my defense, it is laugh-out-loud funny.

5) I don't know the rules of basketball, football, Lacrosse, or Parcheesi.

6) I'm deathly afraid of leeches.

7) Chemically speaking, my body cannot survive with fewer than ninety-four thousand grams of sugar per day.

8) My knee is healed. I must hit the streets running!

9) Weekly professional massage would solve nine out of ten major problems in my life.

10) Cooking up three batches of sour cream enchiladas and Mexican rice for church families puts me dangerously close to heart attack, no matter how holy the intentions. My ministry is NOT cooking. Can't I just go scrub a new Mom's toilet? I am PHENOMENAL at cleaning. Let's just end on that as far as self-diagnoses for the night: "I am PHENOMENAL at cleaning." If only all my problems could be solved with Scrubbing Bubbles and a scouring sponge.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I Know What I Want

for my birthday. A sewing machine. If I can set it in an out-of-the-way place, and surround it in an anti-false-expectations shield, it could come in handy.

My kids have recently worn through the knees of untold numbers of pants, and if I had a machine, I could turn them into shorts rather than throw them away.

I could also crank out some custom home-decor from time to time. My mom came over last week with her machine and spent four hours turning my IKEA panels into two sets of window treatments. If I could just teach myself to thread the machine, I could do things like curtains myself! I half-sewed Cayna's Easter dress last year, and decided that from a practical standpoint, sewing clothes isn't worth the effort - but some projects might be.

So... no ridiculous image of becoming a professional designer, but no wimping out on reading another owner's manual. I'm 38, - turning 39. Almost to that "Old Dog" age when I can't learn new tricks. Gotta quick figure out which of the new tricks are worth undertaking now.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


...that I've been continuing my reading of Les Miserables: I'm on page 524 now. Just completed a 46-page section on convents and voluntary suffering and sacrifice and philosophy. This section seemed to me to be Victor Hugo's little intermission taken as an opportunity to ramble. His thoughts are interesting, I suppose, but they interrupt the story! And a while back, I read 57 pages about Napoleon and his defeat at Waterloo. LOTS of detail there - war analysis and strategy breakdown. Again, though - not sure what it had to do with Jean Valjean and Cosette and my happy little plot.

Does it all come together later? Will it make sense? Or will I add Victor Hugo to my list of "Good Authors I Think Aren't All That Good?"

Friday, April 17, 2009

Great-Uncle Chester's Phantom Pain

Long before I was born, my great-uncle Chester, brother to Melvin and Mary (my maternal grandmother who was almost named Capitola - one wonders what force intervened there) - sawed his arm off at the elbow.

I was asking my mom for details a couple days ago and she clarified it was a power saw. I almost laughed. Who - besides wilderness victims of bear traps - saws off a limb with a manual saw?

Uncle Chester told me about phantom pain. If you have no great-uncle with a missing limb, who teaches you these things?

Here's a little explanation of phantom limb pain, compliments of WebMD, since I can't remember how Uncle Chester explained it: The nerve endings at the site of the amputation (or sawing accident, as the case may be) continue to send pain signals to the brain that make the brain think the limb is still there. Sometimes, the brain memory of pain is retained and is interpreted as pain regardless of signals from injured nerves.

Kinda freaky, huh?

During my time on WebMD, I came across some FAQs. Like this one:

What Are the Symptoms of Phantom Limb Pain?
In addition to pain in the phantom limb, some people experience other sensations such as tingling, cramping, heat, and cold in the portion of the limb that was removed. Any sensation that the limb could have experienced prior to the amputation may be experienced in the amputated phantom limb.

Even MORE freaky!

How Is Phantom Limb Pain Treated?
Successful treatment of phantom limb pain is difficult. (As one would expect since we're talking about a NON-EXISTENT body part, after all.) Treatment is usually determined based on the person's level of pain, and multiple treatments may be combined. Some treatments include:

Heat application
Biofeedback to reduce muscle tension
Relaxation techniques
Massage of the amputation area

Show of hands... when was the last time anybody here thought about phantom limb pain? Well, I, Teri, recently read an article in Runner's World about a leg amputee. So - perhaps this topic is not as obscure as you would think.

Two nights ago, I turned off my bedside lamp, ready to climb into bed, and paused to remove my eyeglasses as I have a hundred million times. My hands made it all the way up to my face before I realized there were no glasses to remove! I don't wear glasses!

Is this in any way related to phantom limb pain? I think so. Probably a closer cousin of "Old Habits Die Hard", though. Uncle Chester would probably shake his head at me to read of my comparison between his violently torn-off arm and my voluntary surgery. But maybe he'd just be glad I thought of him. Let's all agree that he'd laugh out loud at my mom needing to mention it was a power saw that got 'im.

How long do you think it will take for me to stop reaching to remove my specs? On a nightly basis, I also think to myself, "Gotta get these contacts out." Only AFTER I think that do I realize my eyes aren't bothering me, they aren't dry, and I can SEE!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Page 240 of 1463

That's where I am in this undertaking to read Les Miserables. Page 240 indicates I'm liking it enough to have made it past the first few pages. But still painfully early on (like mile two of thirteen in a half marathon.)

This edition, borrowed from my dad, is a Signet Classic and those 1463 pages are packed into a seven-by-four-by-two-inch paperback that is going to give me carpal tunnel just holding it. Worth it? I hope so. Hugo does go on and on and on and on, but I chose to read the unabridged so I have no one to blame but myself. Does this end well? Fifty bazillion people who have kept the musical a hit all this time can't all be total idiots, right?

I will say that with each passing page, I am relying on the little information I retained from my French Culture class in college. But my memory is sorely lacking and I have to force myself not to run to Wikipedia about every third sentence to look up another bit of French history.

I really do need a book group. Today I would have called my fellow member(s) to cry over Fantine's tooth extraction. WHY am I reading this in the midst of mounting PMS symptoms when there are PLENTY of happy-go-lucky little novellas out there with rosy-cheeked heroines and easy plots? I can't answer this question.

Flip Flop Mat

Years ago I bought a whimsical doormat with mini-boot prints all over it. Served me well right up until this week when evidence of its worn-ness came to my attention. It had shedded fibers all over the garage, creating a mess. The fibers, mixed with dried bug poison, tiny bits of kid litter, Kevin's head shavings, leaves, and likely an eensy bit of pigeon poop morphed into a formidable monster (or had the potential to morph into a formidable monster) - so I did away with it.

But not before finding this whimsical doormat at my local giant household mercantile.

Whimsy, by the way, is a key element in any good doormat. Doormats cannot be too serious. Nor too rude. There was a doormat, for instance, that said GO AWAY in big black letters. Funny, in a bitter sort of a way, but rude.

My new doormat made a point, in its labeling, to associate itself with the booming trend toward being "green". I do mean trend. While I think any good follower of God ought to care about the earth and our environment, I think the current emphasis on "green-ness" is a trend. I hope good stewardship of our planet continues, even grows, but I can do without the over-emphasis. And, yet - I bought the "green" doormat, though in my cynicism I have my doubts about it. Supposedly, this thing is made from recycled flip-flops. Really? And mass produced? THAT many people recycled their flip-flops? Did this company have a flash of forward-thinking ten years ago and open up stations where folks could drop off their used flip-flops? I don't believe it. But I'm a victim of the trend, plus I liked the idea and the color - so there it sits in my garage doorway. And it is pleasantly squishy on my feet. Hope it was the same for all those former flip-flop wearers.

(Really, if I was truly "green", wouldn't I have reduced, reused, or recycled my existing doormat without buying the new one? Or is that delving into the other trend toward "simplicity" which it is MUCH more difficult to be a part of? Either way, it has now been revealed that I am not green, simple, OR trusting of recyclers. But I AM a sucker for clever marketing.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Looking back on Easter, there are only photos of the clothes. But despite my previously-confessed shallowness revolving around holiday fashion, I enjoyed the depth of all the Easter celebrations, as well as Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil. I praised God for it. I was moved to whisper "I love this Church" during veneration of the cross on Friday night, and to say out loud "I love Jesus" throughout the four days. And more significantly, "I'm so glad I'm forgiven." Amen? (Spoken more loudly and with traces of my Baptist "roots":) "Can I get an Amen?"

Here's Joseph in his baptismal gown. It is a joy to watch God work in Joe's life. And it was marvelous to witness him receive the sacraments Saturday night.

All half-dozen of us, Easter morning. Joe had the camera remote, he did pretty good.

Me with Cayna in her (my) Easter dress. She is beautiful.

Me in the same dress many many years ago. A testimony to good fabric, good preservation, and my mom's excellent sewing abilities.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Moving toward Easter

It is quiet and peaceful here. Two of the children are in bed, and two are at Mass with Kevin to celebrate Holy Thursday and commemorate the Last Supper, Institution of the Eucharist, and prepare for Good Friday. Kevin is to have his feet washed by one of the Priests. I am missing a meaningful night, but not too disappointed in these still moments.

Tomorrow is Good Friday, and going to Mass will be emotional and profound. So much happens differently on Good Friday, and it all seems well-designed to remind us of Jesus' sacrifice. I only found out last night that the Church recommends a fast of sorts for the next few days until Easter. Not food necessarily, but anything that might distract from focusing on Jesus: T.V., shopping, whatever.

Many events, activities, and family prayers during the past few years have led us to this Easter. Joseph will receive three sacraments Saturday night. We'll celebrate his Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation. A triple-doozy. We can't wait to participate in the Mass as a whole family, not one of us missing.

We have photos of Cayna, Bethanie, and John's baptisms - but because of the nature of the Easter Vigil Mass, no photography is allowed. So I'll just have to illustrate it in words later.

For now, recent photos of Spring Break:

Joseph, his Pinewood Derby car, an award ribbon, and a goofy expression.

Kevin and Bethanie on their "date" night. Kevin has established a precedent for the Dad-and-daughter dates now that includes corsages.

These may look like a few hastily-made "tickets" and envelopes to you, but they are actually the sheer genius that saved our Spring Break. I gave each kid a certain number of "bucks" good for Wii time, computer time, and one movie choice. Thanks to some corresponding usage rules, there has been no whining, no begging, no overuse of the games, and peace and sanity for me. Once we're all home full-time, I see implementing these in a more formal, fun form.

I don't like the feeling I OFTEN had before developing our family schedule at the start of this calendar year. It's a feeling of floundering. When there was a holiday or track break from school or even sometimes when things were "as usual" I felt like I frequently floundered through the day attempting to make it through long hours or burdensome chores and responsibilities. Ninety percent of that was wiped out with my schedule. So with Spring Break upon me, I made an even MORE detailed week-long plan including lunches and dinners (I struggle to get lunch served nearly as much as dinner.) This thing worked miraculously. Seriously. I had a lot to get done to plan for a fairly full Easter weekend, and this has helped me accomplish all I needed to with time for fun and rest as well. Don't you dare make fun of my meals!

Finally, three of our four kids in our trash can. Lovely. Kevin was having one of them help stomp down the weeds and leaves we had just cleaned up, and then the others wanted to get in on the fun. Ew. I tried not to think of the gross stuff that goes in there when I took the photo. Our yard does look nice, two-thousand weed-pulls later. All ready for some Easter egg hunting!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pre-Dawn Grocery Shopping

An Interview:

I (Interviewer): Is this housewifedom's best kept secret? Do all stay-at-home moms shop before sunup?

T (Teri): You know, I don't know. I'd never heard of it. I was only acquainted with late-night shopping to avoid bringing the kids. But it never occurred to me to shop early in the a.m. Until today.

I: And where did you shop?

T: Smith's. Last night, in bed, I dialed information, got the store, and verified they were open 24 hours. I was pretty sure, this being Vegas and all... but I didn't want to show up there at such an obscene time and have the doors be locked. That wouldn't be a good way to start the first day of Spring Break when I've got all four kids all day long.

I: So what time DID you roll into the parking lot?

T: It was 5:30 on the nose. I had originally set my alarm for 5:30, but apparently the excitement of early-morning cart-filling overtook me and I woke up on my own at 5:15. Threw on a sweatshirt and pants and my "I'm cool" Penn Crew hat and arrived by 5:30.

I: Who else is out and about in a grocery store at that time of the morning?

T: Ya know, I expected to see blackjack dealers and Elvis impersonators. But it was just me and the stockers. Really. I think I saw one other customer. Why is that? Why do I see little kids out way too late with their parents when I grocery shop at ten at night - but five-thirty in the morning and nada.

I: Stalkers?

T: No, no. Stockers. The folks filling the shelves. Couldn't even get my cart down the cereal aisle thanks to their boxes and pallets. Stalkers you tend to see more in the evening hours. In my experience.

I: I see. So what other experiences seemed unique to early shopping?

T: Well, I've never grocery shopped in a sleepy haze before. Tired, bored, annoyed, frazzled, yes... but never "just-rolled-outta-bed sleepy."

I: They say "never shop when you're hungry". Were you feeling the effects of an all-night fast? Did you make any impulse purchases?

T: Hm. Nope. But I do want to say to my readers that I had a little cantaloupe experience. Due to my difficulties with melon (described in a previous post) I resolved to buy the pre-sliced stuff. Found a nice little bowl full of yummy-looking slices. Six dollars and seventy-seven cents! I just couldn't do it. Nor could I sacrifice another fruit. Didn't buy any cantaloupe.

I: And on that exciting note, we'll leave you to your full pantry and exhort shopping moms everywhere to try pre-dawn shopping. It's a little-known trick.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Shopping Blues (with 70s photos!!!)

I don't like to shop. I think this makes me less of a girly girl, but you won't notice it since I'll wince when you toss a ball my way and I throw like a girl and I like to dress up and chick flicks are wonderful and throw pillows are magnificent and I can talk hairdos and lipstick and waxing and offer my opinion on the role of women from 1850 to present (before that I'm less knowledgeable).

I just don't like to shop. In addition to a hired chef, I would most appreciate a personal shopper. With my taste. I have great taste in many things, I just don't have the finances or the time or the desire to go out and LOOK for them in stores.

Today I had the stressful task of outfitting my family for Easter. Burdened by a budget but also by a VERY high ideal for Easter apparel left over from my childhood, I took my oldest child and headed out into retail mania. On a Saturday.

Just a quick note about that Easter-wear idealism. I grew up with a mom who was/is an expert seamstress with an eye for color and style. Most of my childhood Easter Sundays came complete with handmade Easter dresses, and my Easter basket annually contained a new bonnet, purse and sometimes gloves.

Glory! Kevin scanned these for me. Here I am circa 1974 or so. Easter morning, showing off my new purse and hat.

And here we are ready for church later that morning. Posed in our backyard on the hill. Dig my dad's white shoes. Ah, the seventies!

Back to today. You should know that I am a bit of a snob and I HATE discount stores. I will blame this on my mother as well, thank you very much. I am happier in upscale department stores with clean, straight racks of clothing and snooty salespeople (or, in the case of Nordstrom, really expert salespeople) than I am in bargain shops. BUT, thanks to the role that my peers play in my character-building even at my age of 38, and thanks to the fact that I really have been impacted by the gospel, by common-sense stewardship, and by my budget restraints and therefore won't justify paying a hundred dollars for something I really could get for less than half that, - I resist the extreme urge to steer to Macy's and pull in earlier at Burlington Coat Factory. Ugh. That place is assaulting, but I did leave with a complete suit for Joe, underwear and a slip for Cayna, and Easter gloves for both girls without breaking the bank. After stops at Kohl's and Target, everyone in my six-person family is outfitted without going into debt. It helps that Bethanie is wearing a hand-me-down from our neighbors and Cayna is wearing a hand-me-down from ME (yes, one of the handmade dresses from the seventies mentioned earlier) and that Kevin's shirt was forty percent off and... I'm quite pleased with myself. And relieved I matched my childhood ideals minus a sewing machine and a credit card.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Rome Sweet Home

My "to read" pile is sky-high, currently. Yet I put all the titles aside to read Rome Sweet Home, by Scott and Kimberly Hahn, over the past three days.

The Hahns converted to the Catholic Church in 1986 and 1990. Converts to the Church, as well as cradle Catholics all over the world know them as outstanding Biblical scholars and defenders of the Catholic faith. I am thankful for them and for their story, because it reassured me as I went through my conversion (I listened to many of their CDs during those two years) and it brought me to tears many times in the past few days as I recalled all that I've been through and discovered and struggled with in my own little life.

Two things I'm thinking now that I finished the book. One, I have GOT to get my conversion testimony written down. Two, I would love for all the Catholics and non-Catholics I know to read Rome Sweet Home and tell me what they think. Oh, there's a third thing. I have resisted praying the Rosary for a long time now. We pray one decade as a family nearly every night, but I really believe Jesus is calling me to pray it on my own as well. Ack! I still feel residual doubt, fear, and hesitation - none of those from God. So we'll see what God does.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Poor Melon

What trait keeps me purchasing cantaloupe time after time when I always come home and leave the poor thing on my kitchen counter never to be sliced and eaten?

Unsubstantiated optimism?
Fear of knives?

I love cantaloupe. Yet I've killed two already in the past two weeks. My childhood cantaloupe-season memories are filled with images of the crescent-shaped slices my dad would place beside our breakfast bowls. So delicious! And I yearn for the ability to not only put one in my cart, pay for it, and take it home, but to actually cut it and eat it and share it with my family.