Welcome!

Welcome to my blog. Thanks for coming! One day I hope my little piece of internet real estate will be home to lots of family photos, pictures of my scrapbook and card art, with some random thoughts and memories posted on a somewhat regular basis. Mostly my world is very predictable, but occasionally some excitement will find me, so visit often. Who knows what useful (or useless) information you may find here.

cathyb

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Words of Wisdom- Australian Prime Minister

Forgive me as I continue to “borrow” the words of other people for my blog entries this week. For some reason, there is just not much motivation to write. I think I am just mentally exhausted, and SO looking forward to my stay at the Ritz (four weeks from today!!!!) that I’m just trying to make it through each day without too many major goofs, fulfilling my responsibilities and obligations, and keeping the kitchen floor somewhat clean. At least clean enough that you don’t walk out of your flops when you pass through. (translated- sticky, icky floor- remember there’s an almost-2-year-old eating in my kitchen every day!) That being said, here is a statement supposedly verified by Snopes, that was made by the prime minister of Australia. I hope it is true, and I wish we were a strong enough country (and just why AREN’T we????) to make such a bold statement. I submit to you the words of Prime Minister Howard:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks. Separately, Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation's mosques.

Quote: 'IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali , we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians. This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom. We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language! Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture. We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us. This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, 'THE RIGHT TO LEAVE'. If you aren't happy here then LEAVE. We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted.'
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Isn’t that GREAT!!! I love it! I wonder if any, and how many, of them will take heed and leave? I doubt conformity is an option for them. (As with any other borrowed words you may read in my blog, I won't swear by the authenticity, but if I post it, it's because I like it- valid or not!!)

Special thoughts and prayers go out today for Brittany, one of my ‘other’ daughters. Brutus, I hope you will have an easy recovery, and that this surgery will resolve your health issues. I love you!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Obama is Right!!

Bet you’re surprised to hear me say that, huh? I think one of the reasons he is so fetching is that most people will agree that America Needs Change! Oh boy, does America ever need change. While I am certain that, even with all her faults and problems, America is still the best place on the planet to call home, we do indeed need an Extreme Makeover, Government Edition. I am by no means an expert on politics. I wouldn’t even consider myself a novice. I am actually embarrassed at how much I do NOT know about how our government was intended to function, nor where we went wrong. I, and perhaps most people, would probably be sickened if I/we knew all the things that actually go on behind the closed doors of our elected officials. It makes me sad when I think of visiting those graves in Boston, that those brave men who pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor- sad that we have come so far from what they envisioned. It makes me sad to see where we have come in the name of “Progress”. Or “change”, if you will. I received an e-mail this morning that caught my interest. I cannot verify the authenticity. But it doesn’t matter if Snopes validates it, or if some person just made it up. It is a very good read, and certainly food for thought. I know that I personally object to Sen. O as our Commander in Chief, for many reasons that I may or may not discuss in later posts. Without telling me who, what, when, where, how and most definitely why, his gospel of change raises neither excitement nor support from me, rather it raises doubt, suspicion and unrest. This supposed letter from a newspaper in Virginia helps me better define just what it is about this man that scares me.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The following letter appeared in Letters to the Editor in the Richmond Times Dispatch, Richmond, VA on July 7, 2008. Its well written and worth thinking about during this political season, though the USA is certainly not like Cuba in the late 1950's.Bill Rogerson

Beware Charismatic Men Who Preach 'Change'

Editor, Times-Dispatch: Each year I get to celebrate Independence Day twice. On June 30 I celebrate my independence day and on July 4 I celebrate America's. This year is special, because it marks the 40th anniversary of my independence. On June 30, 1968, I escaped Communist Cuba and a few months later I was in the United Sates to stay. That I happened to arrive in Richmond on Thanksgiving Day is just part of the story, but I digress. I've thought a lot about the anniversary this year. The election-year rhetoric has made me think a lot about Cuba and what transpired there. In the late 1950s, most Cubans thought Cuba needed a change, and they were right. So when a young leader came along, every Cuban was at least receptive. When the young leader spoke eloquently and passionately and denounced the old system, the press fell in love with him. They never questioned who his friends were or what he really believed in. When he said he would help the farmers and the poor and bring free medical care and education to all, everyone followed. When he said he would bring justice and equality to all, everyone said "Praise the Lord." And when the young leader said, "I will be for change and I'll bring you change," everyone yelled, "Viva Fidel!" But nobody asked about the change, so by the time the executioner' s guns went silent the people's guns had been taken away. By the time everyone was equal, they were equally poor, hungry, and oppressed. By the time everyone received their free education it was worth nothing. By the time the press noticed, it was too late, because they were now working for him. By the time the change was finally implemented Cuba had been knocked down a couple of notches to Third-World status. By the time the change was over more than a million people had taken to boats, rafts, and inner tubes. You can call those who made it ashore anywhere else in the world the most fortunate Cubans. And now I'm back to the beginning of my story. Luckily, we would never fall in America for a young leader who promised change without asking, what change? How will you carry it out? What will it cost America? Would we? Manuel Alvarez Jr.Sandy Hook, VA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Me again- Wow… I never thought about it THAT way! It really gives me a new perspective. All I can say about Obama’s pledge to change is “Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.”

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Girls' Day & Night Out


Friday was great! First time in a while that our entire group met together for a crop. DJ, Delores and I took our stash down on Thursday night. Loading and unloading is quite a task, and it was a delightful change yesterday morning to have that chore out of the way. Now if we're completely honest, our crops are almost as much about eating as about scrapping, and this time was no exception. DJ and Del made spaghetti sauce, I made a salad (I wonder why they didn't want me to cook the sauce?!?) and others brought the rest of the fixins. At dinner time, the guys joined us and a grand feast was enjoyed by all. I did manage to bake some yummy peanut butter cookes, (from a mix of course, but yummy nonetheless), and while they were still warm, I smashed some Hershey Kisses into some of them and Reeces PB cups into the rest of them. MMM, MMM, MMM!!! Oh, and the scrapbooking- yes, that went well too. This time we had a printer on site which enabled us to do some journaling along the way. I don't know the collective total of pages completed, but I finished ten pages (five two-page LOs), I think DJ finished eight, a record for her! Barb finished 16. I'm not sure about Del, Tangela, Debbie or Marie. Needless to say, there was a whole lotta paper snippin going on. Who knew preserving memories could be such fun! Can't wait til next time!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

An Amazing Discovery!

Those who know me know that I do not participate in the e-mail forwarding game. I love Jesus very much, and He knows that, even if I don’t forward the e-mail or return it to the person who sent it to me. I don’t have to forward an e-mail to eight people in eight seconds just so I can know who has a crush on me, or to see naked reindeer dance across my screen. I don’t need any body-part enhancements, nor do I believe that Bill Gates will send me a check for a thousand dollars if I forward this or that e-mail around the world. I normally don’t sign political (or otherwise) petitions and forward on. I know the breast cancer lady has walked across the information highway for many miles, but she stops at my address if you send her to me. DJ loves to send stuff (especially surveys) to me because she knows I won’t send them back, but I will occasionally fool her and send it back to just her. She already knows the answers to my questions, anyway. If I forward an e-mail to someone it is because I was blessed by it myself, thought it humorous or informative. It’s not because I think in four hours I will receive a windfall, or the fear that if I don’t forward it I will lose my job or my (daughter’s) dog will die. But there is the occasional one containing a very informative piece of information that deserves its own personal e-mail, or in this case, its own blog entry. Someone sent an e-mail to me (Marty, maybe?) about a product that we all have in our homes, and use on a regular basis. Aluminum Foil. Or Tin Foil, if you will. Have you ever pulled the entire roll out of the box while trying to unroll it? Have you ever cut your fingers on the little blade trying to stuff the roll back into the box? Well- this information is just for you. Go into your kitchen right now, pick up that box of aluminum foil. Turn it so that you are looking end-on. Do you see that little dot that says “press here”, or something to that effect? You just go right on ahead and press that little dot and see what happens! Lo and behold, there is another dot on the opposing end. Press that one too. NOW try pulling the foil out!!! WOW!! You can pull to your heart’s content, and the roll won’t come flying out of the box. Isn’t that clever?? Okay, so you know it has to cost R. J. Reynolds a lot of money to add that little feature on the box. Packaging would be far less expensive if they didn’t have to run the cardboard under the little perforator machine, and paint that little blue dot on there. So why don't they advertise this handy bit of information? Don't you wish you had known about it? This is valuable information! I am so excited that I just go around pulling tin foil out of the box for no reason at all. Check your other wrapper boxes too. Some of the cellophane wraps also have this nifty feature. Share this information with all your friends. And then go ahead… rip some foil!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Eagle Has Landed


"Magnificent Desolation". Those were the words Buzz Aldrin used to describe the landscape on the surface of the moon as he stepped off the Lunar Module. A few moments earlier, Neil Armstrong had just planted the first human footprint on the face of the moon. His famous statement, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind", would become symbolic for that historic moment. (I kind of like the "Magnificent Desolation" remark my ownself!) I remember that date well. Not necessarily because I was so enthralled by history in the making, but because my parents made me stop playing and come watch the moon walk on TV. I remember that it was evening. Not because I looked at the clock, or because anything at all about the situation impressed me. I remember that it was evening because we were at the lake, and we had our clothes on. My cousins, Sharon and Jeff, and I were upstairs playing a board game. At the appointed time, we rolled our eyes at each other and very reluctantly left our game to go and watch "that stupid, boring, astronaut thing" on TV. We didn't even go all the way downstairs. I vividly remember crouching on the highest step possible (so as to return quickly to my play) that would afford me a view of the television. A little black and white number, it was, with rabbit ears. At that time the lake house was simply a weekend getaway, with few of the nicer comforts of home, like a big television set! At any rate, we were "forced" to watch the snowy image on the screen, as our parents, aunts and uncles sat leaning forward in their seats, holding their breath, taking in every second of the event. We watched him take a few steps, hop a few times, and then made a hasty retreat back to our fun. Our parents had informed us earlier in the day that we would be required to watch it. They told us that one day we would be able to say we witnessed the First Man On The Moon. Big, hairy deal. We were SO not interested… but we were at least relieved that it would not interfere with our swimming and skiing. You see, THAT's how I know it was in the evening. We were upstairs playing, out of our swimsuits, and not down at the water. Now, all these years later, I do think it is really cool that I'm able to say I witnessed the First Man On The Moon, and that I'm old enough to remember all the hooplah that went along with it... unimpressed though I was at the time. So today is the 39th anniversary of a big day for the United States of America. I suppose next year there will be a big 40th anniversary party, and I'll bet the 50th anniversary will be an even bigger bash. Way to go, Apollo 11 guys! Just like my mama said I would be, I'm really glad I watched. I'd love to know more about space travel, the stars, planets and the workings of the cosmos, but that will have to wait. I've got to get back upstairs and finish my game.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Elmo's World


Leyland, my precious little granddaughter, fell in love with Elmo when she was a wee little thing, and "Elbo" was one of the first words she learned to say. It is amazing- we can be walking around the mall, Wal-Mart or even the grocery store, and she will start pointing and saying/squealing "Elmo, Elmo!!!!" (sometimes she still says Elbo). It may take me quite some time to spot the little red guy, but I learned long ago, that if she says "Elmo", then he is somewhere within her sight range. Yes, even the grocery store. Did you know you can buy canned vegetables with Elmo on the label? Honestly, there is a marketing genius living in a luxurious condo somwhere on Sesame Street. There's Elmo green beans, Elmo bubble bath, Elmo plush toys, Elmo electronic toys, Elmo garden flags, Elmo books and coloring books, Elmo coolers and diaper bags, Elmo sippy cups, plates, bath toys, and I promise, we even have a battery-operated Elmo bubble blower (for when mommy, daddy and grandma are too stinkin lazy to dip the wand and blow our own bubbles). And Thank You Lord for those Elmo DVDs!!!!! We have Elmo bibs, blankets, a pillow, jeans, shorts, shirts, backpacks, sweatshirts, PJs, and light-up tennis shoes. I think the kicker was when Whitney found an Elmo pappy. (that's pacifier, binkie, nuk, for those of you who don't speak Leyland). And that's just the Elmo stuff in MY house. There's way more stuff out there yet to procure. The girls and I are scrapbooking next Friday, and I'm going to finish up her First Year book. One of the LOs I'm doing will be called Elmo's World. If you don't find your way to Sesame Street very often, you may not realize that the lovable little fella has his own segment of the show called... you guessed it... Elmo's World. And there's an entire series of DVDs by the same name that explores subjects like Pets, Potty Training, What Makes You Happy and many, many others. So I thought it would be cute to do an Elmo's World LO for her scrapbook with wallet-sized photos of the various and sundry Elmo items found lying around my house. As I was pulling things out of boxes, nooks and crannies this morning, Whitney and I both were surprised at how much Elmo stuff there is. Daggone it, she ate the green beans, so there's no Elmo beans to photograph. So, that's my project for this evening. Take pictures of little red things. Then it's off to Sam's to get the photos. Later I am going into my craft room (tiny little thing that it is) and start pulling paper and photos together for Friday's crop.

And speaking of Sam's- let me just vent a little bit. I did photo shoots of Leyland at four weeks, and now Corey at five weeks. Did the nekkid thing with the bow on their backs and a little tag that says "From God". And another photo of them laying on a fluffy white towel inside a straw basket. Too cute for words. For another scrapbook page, I want to have the final photo (B&W version with the background in total black- Thank You Tangela!), and on the opposing page have wallet-sized out-take shots. I burned all the shots i wanted onto a CD, totally intended to go to Sam's after work yesterday to print them. Forgot to make the turn and ended up at Wal Mart. I decided to go ahead and do it in there, since I also had other shopping to do. Well.... I go to pick up my photos and it was THIRTY THREE DOLLARS!!!! I looked at the price sheet (yeah, I should have done that BEFORE uploading and ordering), and to my shock, a 4 x 6 sheet with two wallet-sized images on there costs fifty-eight cents!! At Sam's the identical thing is .17!! The lady who did the photos was so very nice and quick with my order, that I didn't want to just have a meltdown right there, so I walked around in the store with the photos in my buggy. When I got to the checkout, I just knew there was no way I wanted to buy those photos. So I carefully peeled my name/address/phone# off the envelope, and told the lady at the check-out that I didn't want the pictures, and explained why. (She agreed with me!!) Today I had a message on my phone to call the photo dept at Wal Mart to let them know if I wanted the pictures. DJ and Delores suggested that I offer to pay them Sam's price. So I called back and gave that a try. The lady was really nice, and counter-offered to let me have them for .29 per sheet. I really hate to be totally non-green about this, but I had to let her just go ahead and shred them. I'll just re-print them at Sam's when I go to print the Elmo ones. Dave Ramsey will be really proud of me for paying 17 cents as opposed to 58 cents!! I'm kinda proud of me too. Okay, I'm off to do my Elmo shoot while Leyland is still napping. That swimming pool just wears her sweet little self out.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Karey Tells It Like It Is

I had an e-mail exchange today with Karey. We love Maxine, and I had a new one to share. I also invited her to read my blog, and mentioned that I was contemplating enclosing my carport. I mused that I might have to stand outside Wal Mart with a tin can, or perhaps I could set up a concession stand and sell personal-sized servings of my chili. Do you know what she said? I quote: "People would pay you NOT to sell your chili!!!" (yes, that was THREE exclamation points!) Ahhh.. she cuts me like a knife. She made that statement based on the following story that I told her many years ago.

When Whitney was in the youth group at church, we parents took turns on Sunday evenings making dinner for them. In mid-December, when it was my turn, I decided that I would make my scrumptious chili. My mom, knowing that I was working under some heavy deadlines, offered to make it for me. No thanks, mom, I really like my chili better than yours. So- I'm off to the grocery store to buy 10 lb of ground beef, 3 lbs of onions, 6 cans of chili beans and enough chili powder and red pepper to incinerate a city block. I brown and drain the meat, seasoning to perfection, and tearfully chop the onions. I'm using one of those huge blue-speckled pots to cook the massive amount of deliciousness. I'm smacking my lips the entire time, so proud of myself for providing such a nutritious and tasty dinner for the youngsters. By the time it has cooked enough to get the onions tender, it is nearly 2:00 a.m. I had not thought this through very carefully, though. My dilemma is this: It's too hot to put in the fridge just yet, but neither do I want to turn the heat completely off. It seemed perfectly reasonable to me to take the "crock pot" approach and just turn the heat way down to barely a simmer. Off to bed I go. Up early for church the next morning, and my house smells better than The Varsity. I was gone to church for around 2 1/2 hours, but something went terribly wrong while I was gone. When I returned and opened the door, my house smelled like a 6-month-old kitty-litter box that had been sitting out in the rain. PEEYUUUU. I lifted the lid, and my beautiful chili had this strange frothy-like substance on the top. Trying to be optimistic, I stirred the concoction, and lifted a taste from within the pot. Eeeewww! G-A-G! I was so incredibly nasty that I had to spit it out. I look at the clock and it is nearly 1:00 p.m. I'm in panic mode. I have only a few hours to come up with something to feed the kids. The smell in my house is just awful, and I must get this disaster out of my kitchen. I don my hazmat suit, put on some heavy duty oven mits and transport the offending creation outside to my backyard. My rationale is that the neighborhood dogs will be delighted to find such a tasty (for dogs) treat, and they will take care of the disposal process for me.

Wrong. After feeding the kids frozen corn dogs for dinner, I went about my activities the following week. Near the end of the week I went outside to retrieve my empty pot. I was astonished to see that the stuff was still there. Not only was it still there, it had rained during the week, and there were dead bugs floating in the rainwater. I checked to make sure the fence gate was open so the dogs/cyotes/skunks/buzzards could get in. They were open. Hmmmm. I decided to leave it out there a while longer.

Later on, oh… let's say about April… I was sitting at my desk working one day and Whitney came running into my office gagging and screaming "Get it off!! Get it off!!" I expected to see leeches or spiders or something on her. No. She had been outside pitching a ball in the air and catching it and had somehow bumped up against my chili pot. The decomposed toxic-waste had splattered onto her shirt. I swear, the shirt was disintegrating before my eyes. Holes were literally appearing at the splatter sites. And the smell… well, it was pretty bad. We managed to remove the shirt before there was any damage to her delicate skin. I finally realized it was time to do something about the pot in my yard. I again donned my hazmat suit, put on my heavy duty work gloves, clipped a clothespin on my nose and went about the task of disposal. I got my wheelbarrow (I couldn't risk splashing any of it on my own personal self), and with great caution, loaded the pot on board and carefully navigated my way to the ravine behind my house. At last the evidence was out of site! Except for the dead trees and plants in my yard there was no sign that anything had ever been amiss. Funny thing. A year or so later, my mom and dad were helping me dispose of some plants when I moved from that house. We took a load out to the ravine and my mom says to my dad, "Oh look, honey! A nice stock pot! Climb down there and get it and I'll clean it up for Cat!". Um. No thanks, mom. Believe me, Cat doesn't want that pot.
For some reason, nobody seems interested in eating my cooking any more. My dear friend Karey is probably right. I could probably finance my entire project by having people pay me not to cook. Especially chili.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Atlanta Scrapbook Expo


Scrapbook Expo Atlanta, here we come! The countdown frenzy is finally over. This time tomorrow afternoon we will be tired and worn out, but will dutifully roam from vendor to vendor “one last time” just to make sure we didn’t miss anything. This is an annual event for our little group. I think it is year number three for us as a group. I think it is number 5 for me personally. Imagine this: Archivers, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, _______ (enter your favorite craft or SB store here) all rolled into one venue with rows and rows of exhibitors. New products, techniques and ideas to drool over and try out. Door prizes and contests. Oh yeah, baby, we are so THERE! DJ, Delores, Tangela and I are heading out bright and early tomorrow morning. Just a quick drive through at the DQ for a biscuit and off we will go. I’m only taking cash, though, no debit card. I’m on a budget, and besides, there really isn’t anything I particularly need. *gasp! that was actually painful to my fingers to type that* Oh, there’s plenty that I want…. why I’m sure there some stuff that I want that I haven’t even seen yet! That’s always the way. I find these great bargains so that I can make gifts and cards and save money. Well, I think I could set up my own Hallmark/Santa Shop right at home with the supplies I already have on hand. So, I’m not planning on spending much at all this year. I am looking for one particular item for Corey’s scrapbook though. Last year I got a big diaper pin with pastel-colored beads to slide on it that spell “Leyland” for her book. I hope those folks are back again so I can get one for Corey. I’m packing snacks to take and a PBJ for lunch. $8.00 for a sandwich can buy a lot of paper! Oh, and I’m also taking some of those foamy ear plug thingies to use when the screaming gets too loud. You know the screams I’m talking about. Those blingy, sparkly, crafty, colorful, gotta-have things that scream “BUY ME, BUY ME!!” Talk to the hand. I’m going to be strong.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Energy Crisis- Solved!

To my friends of the male persuasion, and to my younger female friends, this post will mean absolutely nothing. However, to those women nearer my age, you will identify fully. I watch the billboard at my gas station every morning. Here a penny, there a penny, slowly and surely the price of gasoline creeps ever upward. While I am trying to do my part to conserve energy (combining errands, staying in at lunch, etc.), I don't see that it is making that much of a difference in my gasoline budget. Government officials "say" they are concerned about it, and I expect it to be a hot political issue in this election. I don't know beans about how to convert this or that matter into usable energy, but from what I have read, corn is not the answer. Maybe years and years ago if we had begun to prepare for this, it might have been a feasible source of energy. Hybrid cars can help, I'm sure, but they are still gasoline dependent. I've seen a lot of scooters around town, and for some, that is a viable alternative. There's talk of using livestock dung to manufacture gasoline. PeeeYoooo! Well, I say all that is fine and good, (perhaps too little, too late),but I intend to someday let the government in on a little secret. I have the solution. In every city and town, every valley and vale, there should be a self-contained energy-uploading facility. These facilities should be totally accessible 24/7. They should have every comfort of home- plenty of chocolate and caffeine, and lots and lots of magazines to enjoy, wide-screen, flat-panel, high-density television. And internet shopping. Not to be sexist or exclusive, but only women will have access, and only a certain group of women. On her assigned day or night, each woman will enter the facility, observing the strictest security precautions, and proceed to go about her chores as if she were at home or at work. When the feeling begins to come over her, she will move quickly to the interface room, stand perfectly still, then press the green button to begin the upload. When the feeling passes, she will press the red button to stop the upload. (I know this is a feasible concept, because I my ownself can generate enough energy in a single episode to raise the room temperature by a modest 5°.) She will visit the interface room many times during her 24-hour shift. It won't matter if she is talking on the phone, washing the dog, doing the dishes, watching her favorite reality show, or even if she is sleeping. It doesn't matter if she is in an important meeting, or negotiating with her boss for a raise. If she can become embarrassed about something, and have a natural blush, then that's all the better. After her upload, she will then change her clothes, reapply her antiperspirant, and powder anything that needs powdering. After repeating this routine as many as 100 times in any given day, she is then free to return home to her family once she showers, changes her clothes (again), reapplies her antiperspirant, powders anything… well you get the picture. Oh- and on days of extreme heat or cold, or during high-energy usage such as the Christmas holidays, two or three women may be utilized simultaneously to compensate for the increased demand. When I teach myself how to harness my own "energy", I'll let the government in on my secret, and our energy crisis will be history. So if you see me driving down the street really slow, and then I suddenly speed up only to slow down a few minutes later, you'll know I'm in Full Test Mode. Better get out of my way.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Restless Legs Syndrome

Just a phrase in my medical word expander. Until a couple of years ago when my mom started complaining about her legs feeling “fidgety” and making it difficult for her to fall asleep. Now it’s all the rage on the television commercials. There’s all kinds of FDA-approved *new* medicines on the market. So far, none of them have worked for her. Randy, a friend from church, bought some kind of oil that he swears did the trick for him. My mom got her some of the stuff. “Snake oil”, she calls it. So far that hasn’t helped either. Sometimes she will fidget for hours before finally falling asleep.

You know that thing they say about the apple never falling far from the tree? Well, thanks a lot mom- I think I have inherited your RLS. It’s not enough that I have inherited your forgetfulness, now this! (Why couldn’t I have inherited your good DNA, like cooking!) Yesterday at the office was wild and crazy. I was pooped when I got home. Last night's hospital work was boring. What I really wanted to be doing was watching the finale to The Bachelorette. But no, I typed and typed until the skin fell off my fingers. Finally went to bed, only to toss and turn, wiggle and squirm. Jimmy Kimmel was a rerun- the NBA finals are painfully boring enough to hear about the first time around. What person could possibly want to hear it again? Once the tv was off and it was quiet and dark in my room, I could still hear something rustling every time my legs moved. …Sigh… it was that darn plastic Wal Mart bag, buried somewhere beneath the clean, unfolded laundry that was piled on my bed. After I dug around and found the offending noisemaker, (with the incidental finding of my tv remote, a book I had been looking for, and various and sundry other items- kind of like looking under the cushions on the sofa), I settled back under the covers hoping for a visit from the sand man. Sometime long after the time when a hard-workin’ girl should be asleep, he finally visited me, and I was able to rest. Is this what I have to look forward to? Hey, if my legs are constantly twitching and fidgeting, do you think they will get skinny? You know, like exercise? Surely it’s gotta burn some calories!! I’ll let you know if my pants start getting too big.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Kaboom!

Another 4th of July has come and gone. It was great day for our family. Instead of sleeping in, I got up fairly early and went to DJs for breakfast. One of my favorite things to do is sit on her back deck and drink coffee in the cool of morning. We had a nice long visit (nearly three hours!) Later we took Corey to GiGi's, then took the girls swimming over at Mama Jo's. We had no idea Mary could swim, but she was like a little fish in the water! Leyland loved the water and laughed and splashed until she just wore herself out. As soon as her dad put her in the play pen, she was sound asleep. We all took a nice nap then got ready for the evening. After pizza for dinner, we took the kids by to see Nany and Pawpoo. Nany wanted to keep Corey while we went to the fireworks, so the Little Man got to spend time with both sets of great-grandparents today. He was a very good boy! Whitney, Mary, Leyland and I made our way over to my office parking lot for an almost-front-row seat for the fireworks at Bishop Park. I was afraid the loud noise would frighten Leyland, but she really got into it and loved it. There was a family next to us who watched her more than the fireworks... she was so cute, jumping up and down, pointing, dancing, squealing. It was priceless. Everyone was exhausted when we returned home, and we all went to bed tired and happy. Here are a few photos and a short video.Above- Leyland taking lessons from Big Sister Mary on how to properly toss poppers to the ground for the maximum POP!

Below- Waiting patiently (??) for the fireworks to begin.
video

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence

October 11, 2001. The one-month anniversary of one of the darkest days in American history found me boarding a plane, heading to the very airport from which those ill-fated planes originated. I was traveling as a chaperone with a group of 10th grade AP US History students to Boston. Though plans had been made far in advance, because of the uncertainty of air travel, we were not sure we would get to make the trip. Fortunately, we were allowed to fly, and so began one of my favorite trips ever.

Now each year when July 4th comes around, I have a new understanding and appreciation for the holiday. It's way more than fireworks, picnics, and a day off work. So much more. While I expected the trip to Boston to be a nice adventure, I had no idea what was in store for me, and how it would forever change my view of independence. Our tour guide (a descendant of John Pitcairn) was a fascinating man with a passion for Revolutionary War history, and he made it come alive. I am grateful to have walked the very ground where it all happened. It made it real. I went inside the church where Robert Newman hung the two lanterns that signaled to Paul Revere that the British were coming. I saw the window where he escaped arrest, the window that has been blackened out to commemorate his heroic act. One late afternoon I sat in a grassy field in Lexington and listened to our guide describe the small, but significant exchange of gunshots that happened on the very ground where I was sitting. In Concord, I walked across the Old North Bridge, site of "The Shot Heard Round The World". I touched the monuments that give tribute to the men who died there. Though I didn't climb its 294 steps, I visited the monument at Bunker Hill, the site of the bloodiest battle of the war. The American soldiers were short on ammunition, and the British soldiers so many, that General Prescott ordered his men- "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes!" in order to make sure that every bullet counted. One of those shots would be fatal for Pitcairn. I visited the graves of many brave men who were instrumental in our early history- Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, Peter Faneuil, and John Hancock. I saw the building from which the Declaration of Independence was first read to the public. Wow.

The trip was fascinating, and I asked more questions than the students. Admittedly, history was a subject that I loathed while in school, and I remember very little of what I dutifully memorized in order to pass a test. Here in Boston it came alive to me, and much to my embarrassment, several times I found myself overcome with emotion at the enormity of the sacrifice that our forefathers (and mothers) endured to secure our independence. I have often seen and heard the remark that freedom is not free. It never has been. It never will be.
Happy Birthday, America! Thank you, soldiers of the Revolutionary War. Thank you, men and women throughout the history of our country who see to it that our Star-Spangled Banner Yet Waves, Ore The Land Of The Free And The Home Of The Brave!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Extreme Makeover, Carport Edition

Extreme Makeover, Home Edition. One of my favorite shows. It is amazing to me how they can raise a house (translated = mansion) in seven days and nights. Just an example of the miracles that can be performed when people work together. Well, here’s my application to be on the show:

Hi ABC. We’re the Bennett/Veal family. I’m Cathy Bennett, the mom. This is my daughter Whitney Veal, her husband Dustin, and my beautiful grandchildren- Leyland, 21 months, and Corey, four weeks. Last August they asked if they could move in with me in order to save money to purchase a small home of their own. With rent, utilities, and medical bills it was impossible to save money in order to move. I agreed, and we rearranged everything in my home to accommodate two more adults and a baby. I moved my bed into my office so that they could have the master bedroom and bath, and have space for the crib. Their own self-contained little living area, as it were. Budgets were made and followed, and the future looked promising. Whitney was working at a job she loved, and Leyland was in an excellent day care facility. Unfortunately, Leyland had some health issues early in life, and during the first year, was hospitalized seven times. Shortly after her first birthday, we learned that a new baby was on the way. You know, one of those special surprise blessings from God! Whitney continued to work, and Leyland continued to be sick, and went to the doctor nearly every week. This of course, required her mom to miss work (without pay), yet the day care and office-visit expenses continued. Finally, after a trip to a children’s specialty hospital in Augusta, it was determined that she is just one of those kids who can’t tolerate day care. Thankfully, nothing serious was found, but the pediatrician recommended that she come out of day care immediately. With no other options available, Whitney had to quit her job. After careful consideration and working the math, it was also determined that even if she kept working after the new baby came, having two children in day care would leave her with a whopping $40.00 left over each week from her bring-home pay. Even then, that wasn’t enough to buy gas to drive to work. Now it won’t even fill the tank once. Staying at home has been a blessing, as Leyland hasn’t been sick at all since coming out of day care. Unfortunately, it also means that their dream of owning a home, or even moving out and paying rent, has been put on hold for several years. I love having them in my home (what gradma wouldn’t?), but we are about to burst at the seams. (I could win the prize for creative storage ideas!)

I believe that by enclosing my garage and relocating my bedroom/office to that area, we would be able to manage. This would free up a nicely-sized bedroom for the babies. I had my first estimate yesterday. Total cost to complete the project is just under $9,000.00. That’s not an insurmountable number for most folks. I would be able to save that amount in a few short years. But the challenges we are facing are here in the present. If we were in Amish country we could have a barn-raising and the menfolk could get it done. I don’t qualify for the widows and orphans benefits spoken of in the Bible. My daddy can do anything, and in his younger years could have built the entire thing for me, but he is 77 years old, just had open heart surgery, and is simply physically unable to do it.

Ty, would you consider doing an Extreme Makeover, Carport Edition? No demolition necessary; I don’t need a new home. (My home is fine, and in perfectly good condition. There are many more families out there who need a full home makeover.) I have my own furniture, I don’t need a vacation to Disney- can’t leave my two jobs long enough for that- and I don’t even need you to pay off my mortgage or send my kids to college. I would really just like for my grandbabies to have a place to sleep, a place to store their clothes and gear, and for my daughter and her husband to have a room of their own. Leyland will be ready to come out of the crib in the next six months or so, and there is simply not enough space for four people to live in my master bedroom.

Whaddya say, Ty? Can we “Let’s DooooooooIiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiT” to my carport? I think I see a new series in ABCs future!

[Edited to add-- no, I really didn't submit this application. But a girl can dream, can't she??]

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Card Art

Well, since one of the purposes for my blog was to post photos of my *artwork* I'm feeling a bit frustrated that I haven't posted any. Of course you have no doubt enjoyed immensely the previously-posted photos of the grandchildren. Not even the finest art or craft work will hold a candle to those little love bunnies. That being said, I am dutifully posting a few photos of cards that I have made in the past. These are the only three samples that I have stored on this computer. What I really want to do is scan my scrapbook pages, but until I can locate a 12 x 12 scanner, I am just too lazy to learn the stitching program needed to fuse two images together. If I could do that, then I would post my pages in the CK gallery. Note to self: To-Do-List item #4,354: Learn the Arcsoft stitching program and post images to gallery. In the meantime, here are a few images. I'll probably add more later, so stop back by and check it out. Or, you could just click my link that says My CK Gallery. You'll see the same silly thing over there.
This is a birthday card for Jessica's 21st birthday. I used CB A2 embossing folder, twill ribbon, and a slider die. I used pearlized ink to highlight the embossing.
This is the invitation for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. I used the textile A2 embossing folder, one of the fancy schmancy sqaure dies, and the QK wedding ring set. I cut the diamond off the engagement ring, cut a slit in one of the gold bands, and entertwined them together. It's a good thing 50th anniversary only comes around once!




The final entry for today is a Mother’s Day card I made for mom last year. I totally copied this design from another CKMBer, but I don’t remember who, so I cannot give design credit where it is due. This card was made using (again) the textile A2 embossing folder, prima flowers, miscellaneous brads, and vellum. Gotta love my mom. After she looked at the card, I said
“Now gimme it back.”