Monday, July 31, 2006

Moving Misadventures


When we started looking at apartments, we thought we knew what we wanted, and how much we wanted to spend.
We found out pretty fast that we didn't want to live anywhere that was available for what we wanted to spend. So...we expanded our search.
We found two different places that we were really interested in, and talked to the managers at both places. We didn't want to sign a lease until we were certain about our job situation--as in signed contracts. Last Thursday we got assurance that we do indeed have jobs, so we called our first choice.
Unfortunately, the apartment we wanted would not be ready for 6-8 weeks.
So we went with second choice, and got to move in the next day.
We had a kitchen table and chairs, a small tv, two chairs, and an old dresser.
Didn't take long to load it up, or unload it at the other end.
Then we went shopping.
We decided we would buy an air mattress to sleep on for the first month, and each month make a major purchase when we get paid.
We bought the air mattress.
Unfortunately, it was not as much fun as it appears in the picture.
It was sort of like sleeping in jello.
Difficult to roll over without rolling over each other.
And once I got rolling, I rolled right off the edge onto the floor.
So the air mattress went back to Wal-mart.
The we bought a futon.
We brought it home and assembled it.
The mattress was about an inch thick.
The frame was so flimsy that the back sagged when one of us sat down on it.
We returned the futon.
We bought another futon.
This time, we asked for one that was already assembled, so we could see what would happen when we sat on it. It seemed much sturdier.
So we bought it, and took it back to the apartment.
When we cut open the plastic and clipped the strapping that had the mattress rolled up, it was much thicker, and much more comfortable.
Unfortunately, where the zipper was sewn into the cover, about two feet of it had come unsewn.
We looked at each other for several minutes, debating whether to load it up again and return it. We had already waited three days.
I got out my sewing kit and hand sewed it up again.
Then we went to Penney's to buy a set of pots and pans which was advertised for $24.00.
But that price was after the mail-in rebate
and I am prone to lose the coupon,
or forget to mail it,
or mail it and not get it,
but lose the address,
so I can't follow up on why I didn't get it.
so we went to another store, and got almost the same thing, for even less.
Between the shopping, and the assembling, and the taking back, and shopping again,
I think it will be more restful once we start back to work.
I hate moving.
I hate shopping.
I really hate returning stuff.
So the past few days have been more misadventure than adventure.
Friday we start new teacher training.
I just hope it doesn't involve shopping.

Friday, July 28, 2006

TGIF # 1

TGI Friday was suggested by Katoushka, whose blog is passworded, so no I can't give you the link, but I will say it is hilarious, and yes I am bragging on my granddaughter.

Why TGI Friday this week? Because it is my birthday! No I won't say how old. But since I have already admitted to being married for 36 years, having three kids and seven grandbabies, I'm sure you have a pretty good guess. Oh, and yes, I was a "child bride" (well, not exactly...).

How are we celebrating? We are moving from our RV into an apartment. The RV is staying at the lake, and we will be staying in it on weekends. During the work week, we will be living in a tiny little apartment near the schools where we will be teaching.

The apartment manager has put down new flooring (looks like hardwood), new carpet in the living room and bedroom, and painted one wall in the dining room a deep red, which will be lovely with the red plaid cushions on my kitchen chairs.

I hate moving, but can't wait to get settled. Y'all have a great Friday!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Bloggy Tour of Homes

All southern girls love home tours. We want to know how everyone lives, how they decorate, what their favorite colors are. And Boomama has graciously set us up to find out, with her Tour of Homes today.

I wasn't sure if we could participate, since we live in our RV, but sweet, hospitable dear that she is, Boomama said sure! So here we are.

We have been living in this RV for about two and a half years. It's very cozy. Sometimes, it is a little crowded, like when we have company.

But for just the two of us, it's fine. We have a tiny kitchen, a tiny bath, a tiny bedroom--just enough room to walk sideways down beside the bed and get into bed, or open the closet door.

When we lived in a house, Frankie had a crate to sleep in. But there is no room for the crate here, so he sleeps wherever he wants to, which is mostly with us.
The only problem with the bedroom picture is that it is not mine. For some reason, blogger is being uncooperative, and I can't seem to upload my own, but it let me upload this one from the web. The differences are:
1. Wrong colors. Our bedroom is a soft sage green and beige plaid.
2. Too clean. My bedroom is always cluttered with craft stuff, yarn, fabric, or clean laundry.
3. No books. My night stand is always loaded with a stack of books waiting to be read.

Other than than, it's exactly like mine.

The things I miss most about living in an RV instead of a house?
Having room for all our family to gather.
Decorating for Christmas.
So I'm posting a few pictures from previous Christmases. The top and bottom ones are at my mother's house. The one in the middle is at the house we lived in before we started RVing full time. Top: Wick and me. Middle: me. Bottom: my mother with some of her great grand children (several of them are our grandchildren. The others belong to my sister).

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Thursday Thirteen--Driving Lessons Needed

Wick and I went shopping today, while the RV was in the shop again.
Normally, neither of us is much on shopping. We decide what we need, where to go to get it, get in and out as quickly as possible.
Especially since I have had back trouble.
Since I have to use one of those little electric cart thingies the stores provide.
But today was fun. We were looking at stuff for the cabin we hope to start building soon.

1. We found some really neat brick pavers that look just like used brick, in a rosy red color, not the usual brownish or orangy color.
2. I nearly wrecked the electric cart at Home Depot, trying to back up. Sometimes the aisles are too narrow, or something is sticking out from a shelf, or whatever, and I have to back up.
3. Since I don't back up very well, I usually run into something.
4. But this time, I was actually going forward, and I still ran into something.
5. The guys who work in flooring at Home Depot had a great laugh at my expense--I think I made their day
6. because when we went to the tile department, two aisles over, I could still hear them laughing.
7. In the tile aisle, I of course immediately picked out the most expensive, which turned out to be real marble, which I don't want any way, because it would not be very durable, even though it is pretty,
8. So next I asked about butcher block--not formica, but real wood--which would fit the rustic look we are going for, but is also expensive, and not very practical.
9. When the sweet little girl in that department said well, you can't cut on it, and you can't put raw meat on it, and especially you can't put chicken on it, becaused of salmonella,
10. I quickly moved on. Salmonella. I mean. Yuck.
11. Then we went back to the flooring department so we could look at antique oak flooring, and
12. I promptly ran into a display rack,
13. Which really made the day for the flooring department guys, so we gave up, turned in the cart, and went home.

At this rate, it's gonna take us a long time to get this cabin built.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday--Stinky Laundry Hampers

If you have a child in your household, your laundry stinks. Whether it is poopy clothes, smelly sweatsocks, or grubby uniforms, the smells can be overwhelming whenever you lift the hamper lid. So here's a way to cut down on the yucky odors.

Start with nylon netting. You can buy it for next to nothing at Wal-mart. It's usually about 3 yards wide, so one yard will go a long way.

Cut three or four squares, about the size of a coffee filter. Stack them up. Put a couple of tablespoons of baking soda in the center, bring the corners together, and twist. Secure with a rubber band, or a bread twistie, or a clothespin, whichever you can find in your junk drawer. Don't deny it. I know you have one. Everybody does.

Plop the resulting packet into your laundry hamper. The baking soda will absorb odors, the netting will confine it so you don't have baking soda all over the clothes, and the effect will last a couple of weeks.

When you replace the baking soda with fresh, pour the old down your kitchen drain and run hot water for about a minute to deodorize your sink.

Or use it to scrub your sink, then rinse it down the drain.

If the netting starts to look grubby, just run it through your washing machine, let it air dry, and start again.

Works for me.

Checking My To-Do List

Yesterday, bright and early, I started working on my to-do list. Here's how it went.

1. How amazingly polite and appreciative people were when I called to decline interviews, since I already found a job. Was that actually a sigh of relief that they don't have to interview me?
2. Can someone explain to me exactly what it is that apartment locators do, and what they expect me to pay them for? Because all they have done is call/e-mail me with lists of apartments, all of which I had to then look up on the internet myself, make calls myself, and then go look at myself? So exactly what have they done for me?
3. Can anyone explain to me how it is that I can walk into a major suburban school district HR office, request paperwork, and get it in five minutes, but when I want files from a tiny little east Texas school district, I have to wait at least 24 hours for them to locate the files?
4. I have only a week until I have to be in another city, at work, and my dentist here can't see me until September 25. So I will be looking for another dentist, in the city. I guess it is a good thing that I am not in n excruciating pain.
5. Frankie was not as thrilled as we were about his going to Krista to be groomed.
6. Apparently everyone in the property owners association who knows anything is gone on vacation. The only people still in town don't know anything. I just hate waiting. Of course, it's not as if we are planning to start building the cabin tomorrow.
7. Since we still have to complete our paperwork, find an apartment, move, and get our professional clothes cleaned, I don't think we are going to have time to celebrate by taking a trip.
8. On the other hand, since our RV inverter, TVs, video player, DVD player, GFI outlets, and refrigerator are still waiting to be repaired or replaced, taking a trip might not be as much fun as I anticipated.
9. However, despite minor disappoitments, delays, and frustrations, there has been no interruption in prayer, so thankful prayers are continuing.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Monday's To-Do List

1. Call three school districts to decline interview appointments, because we have jobs.
2. Call apartment locators, because we have jobs two hours away from where we live, and that is too far to drive every day.
3. Call last year's school district to ask for employment documents, because we have jobs in another district, and the human resource office needs official copies of our transcripts, service records, and evaluations.
4. Call the dentist and make an appointment to get a jaw tooth capped, which we can now afford, because we have jobs.
5. Call Krista at Grand Paws and make an appointment for Frankie, since now we can afford to have him groomed, because we have jobs.
6. Contact home owners' association to get cabin plan approved, since we can now make plans to start building, because we have jobs.
7. Make plans for end-of-summer celebration, since our summer is almost over, because we have jobs.
8. Revise prayers, giving thanks that now we have jobs.
9. Praise God, we have jobs.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Jobs!! God gave us jobs!!

When we agreed together to resign from our jobs last February, we committed to completing our contracts in a professional manner, which we did.
We also started filling out job applications.
We filled out applications for school districts the length of Texas, north to south.
We went to job fairs.
We wrote letters.
We asked for letters of recommendation.
We requested official copies of our transcripts.
We e-mailed.
We telephoned.
We prayed.
Most of all, we prayed.
We both wanted jobs, yes. For one thing, we have grown accustomed to eating regularly.
For another, Frankie the pomeranian just couldn't be expected to give up his Kibble and Bits for Ol'Roy,
or his Alpo, for Hi-top,
or his Pupperoni for Good Value dog biscuits.
Rest easy, friends of Frankie.
He will not be reduced to being groomed by us, with our dull scissors and cheapo clippers.
He can continue being pampered by Krista at Grand Paws.
And we will still be eating regularly.
Even though it would probably be to our long term advantage if we did miss a few meals.

Our prayer was to be open to where God wanted us to be,
to achieve whatever He wants us to achieve,
to learn what He wants us to learn.

I was offered a job this morning, at the job fair, by the first school I interviewed with.
Within half an hour, Wick was hired to teach at a middle school just a few blocks from the high school where I will be teaching, so we will be riding together still, even though not on the same campus.
Both the principal and assistant principal who interviewed me were interested in my faith story, how we left our jobs trusting that God would put us where He wants us to be. In fact, I believe that is why they offered me a job.
God is so good.
Now, we pray that we will use the gifts He has given us to His glory, and according to His plan. Please pray with us.
In the district where we will be teaching, we are going to need all the prayers we can get.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Thursday Thirteen--Stuff I Learned This Week

Since our Rv, which we live in, has been in the shop for a week, we have been visiting our kids. These are things I have learned this week.
1. It always takes longer to get where you are going than you think it will.
2. Every time we stop, I *need* a coke.
3. Every time I get a coke, I Need to stop again.
4. The more times we stop, the more cokes I drink.
5. The more cokes I drink, the more often we have to stop. (anybody else seeing a pattern here?)
6. Leaving one Pomeranian alone with five cats is probably not a good idea.
7. The cats can get into places where the Pom can not go, but the Pom can't find a place that the cats can't go.
8. Kids love helping to strip a chicken carcass, because it is greasy and messy.
9. There is an amazing amount of meat left on the carcass even after you think it is stripped.
10. All little girls raised in the South need to know that *white* meat chicken salad is the only acceptable version to serve to company, although leftover *dark* meat is perfectly acceptable to serve to one's husband for lunch.
11. My daughter Jeana does not know how to pronouce "victuals" and neither does my husband.
12. Two of my grandchildren prefer to watch movies at maximum volume; I'm talking loud enough to rattle the windows.
13. My dil Jamie is a great cook, and if I stay here much longer, I won't be able to fit into any of my clothes.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday--Salvaging Left-overs

Don't you just hate to waste food? I do. That's why I save up all those little dabs of food--a spoonful of green peas, a bite of mashed potatoes, a tad of meat loaf. At one time, I save all those little bits, kept them in the refrigerator until they turned green, and then threw them away. Somehow it seemed less wasteful than just chunking them immediately.
Next, I tried eating those last few bites as I cleared the supper table. OOOPS......every bite went straight to my hips and stayed.
And stayed.
Obviously, that was not the best solution.
What to do?
Having parents and in-laws who grew up in the Depression has marked me for life.
Use it up.
Wear it out.
Make it do.
Or do without.
So here is how to use it up, and make it do, without wasting food.
Depending on the size of your family, and the number of teenagers you feed regularly, you will need some kind of freezer container, somewhere between a quart and a gallon capacity.
It needs a lid that seals securely.
Make a space for it in your freezer.
Now, every time there is just a dash, pinch, or smidgin of something left over, throw it in the freezer container.
A few bites of roast.
The last five green beans.
The zucchini you had such good intentions of making into zucchini bread, but never got around to.
Don't ever throw anything away.
Save it all in the freezer container.
When it is full, make soup out of it.
Depending on what kinds of leftovers you have, your mixture may be a little dry. If so, add a can of tomatoes, or tomato sauce. If you haven't put in anything starchy, add a cup of rice, or a couple of potatoes. If you like your soup spicy, add a couple of spoonfuls of salsa.
If it doesn't seem flavorful enough, add some ham base, or chicken base.
If you think it needs more veggies, add a can of mixed vegetables.
If you have plenty of time, make a big iron skillet full of cornbread.
Or serve the soup with crackers or garlic bread, and a fresh salad.
You might even want to top it with a handful of grated cheese.
It turns out different every time, depending on what you've been cooking, but it is always good. However, if there is any left, feed it to the dog.
Once is good.
Twice is better.
But leftover soup is the end.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Phantom Paw

Last Tuesday we took our RV to be repaired. The service manager told us it would take at least a week to make the necessary repairs. So, since we live in our RV, and living in it while it is in the shop is not very much fun, we decided to go see our eldest, Ron, and wife Nikky, northwest of Houston.
We have one small dog, Frankie the pom. They have two outside dogs, black mouth curs named Sunshine and Moonbeam, and five indoor cats: Gizmo, an oriental; Jaden, a white long-hair; Twitter, a lovely smoky blue-grey; and the twins, Castor and Pollux, nearly identical grey striped tabbies.
Frankie thinks he would like to play with the cats.
The cats think they would like to ambush Frankie and tear him to shreds.
No one has actually come to great harm, but small puffs of fur often float through the air after one of their confrontations.
Night before last, Frankie ran around the end of the couch and found himself surrounded--ambushed by three of the five. The other two were sitting on top of the aquarium, snickering.
The twins like to climb up their cat "tree" and leap down suddenly, when Frankie least expects it.
Sometimes they hide in the dining room chairs, and jump on him as he walks underneath the table.
The other night, about 3:30 a.m., Frankie, who was sleeping in our bedroom, started barking. Wick told him to be quiet.
He was quiet for a minute.
Then he barked again.
This time, I told him to hush.
He did. For about 30 seconds.
Then he really started barking.
And he wouldn't hush.
So finally, I decided maybe he needed something. I don't know. A drink of water?
To go outside? What does a dog want, at 3:30 in the morning?
So I got out of bed and reached for my robe.
That's when I saw it.
A paw.
A cat's paw.
Hooked menacingly.
Waving to and fro under the bottom of the door.
By the time I opened the door, the paw and its owner had disappeared, but Frankie was on the trail.
I'm sure Ron and Nikky wanted to throw something at him.
By the time I caught up with him, drug him back to the bedroom, and shut the door, I was wide awake. Frankie barked once more, then curled up on his pillow, as if nothing had happened, and started snoring softly.
Wick was snoring loudly.
No one else was stirring, not even a mouse.
So I did what any sensible person would do, at 3:30 in the morning.
I lay in bed, counting cats, until I finally fell asleep again.
Fortunately, the cats were also asleep, or had lost interest.
Tonight I'm planning to roll up a rug and put it against the bottom of the door.
Just in case the Phantom Paw tries to strike again.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Thursday Thirteen--Pork Rinds

Wick and I have been working at low carbing for quite a while now. Truly living the low carb way means either giving up most of our comfort foods, or finding ways to replicate them without so many carbs. If you are low carbing, pork rinds are your friend.

1. Pork rinds as a substitute for chips with a sour cream based dip.
2. Mix melted butter with a little salt and pour over microwaved pork rinds as a sub. for popcorn.
3. Mix melted butter with cinnamon and brown sugar substitute for a sweet snack.
4. Combine pork rinds, mixed nuts, and pumpkin seeds, as a sort of trail mix.
5. Mix pork rinds with pecans and cashews, then add the same kinds of seasonings you would use to make Chex Mix (garlic powder, butter, worcestershire sauce, among other things).
6. Crush pork rinds and use as breading on chicken or fish.
7. Crushed pork rinds can be the basis for faux stuffing for turkey--e-mail me if you want the recipe.
8. Use crushed pork rinds on top of faux-tato casserole (made with cauliflower instead of potatoes) instead of bread crumbs.
9. Pork rinds come in a variety of flavors:
10. Barbecue
11. vinegar and salt
12. cheese
13. Use crushed pork rinds as the basis for faux bread pudding, instead of the usual bread.

Number 13 is the one to which Jeana is referring in her Thursday Thirteen today. I'm sure she will be happy to explain the experience to you ;)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday--Keeping in Touch

Some of us are blessed with large families; on the down side, some of our family members don't live close enough to visit frequently. Little ones forget names (and sometimes faces) between visits.

Our solution is mini-picture albums.

Get a couple of those pocket-size picture albums--you will want one for each child. Gather up photographs of distant relatives, or close relatives who live at a distance. Use a permanent Sharpie to label each picture on its transparent sleeve, including relationship to the child.

Once or twice a week, take your little one on your lap and page through the mini-album. Tell stories about each person. Little ones love to hear the same stories over and over, and the stories will provide a "hook" for remembering who the various family members are.

When you see the relatives in person, you can remind your child, "This is Aunt Maude, who makes the best pineapple cake in the world!"

Or, "This is Uncle Jerry, the one who got bit by the chipmunk!"

The kids will feel more comfortable, because the names, faces, and stories are familiar. The relatives will love knowing that the babies they love so much are learning who they are.

Just be sure that the pictures are reasonably up to date, and actually look like the people.

It works for me. Let me know how it works for you.

P.S. The reason you need one for each child is that the older kids won't want the babies to slobber on *their* book. This is according to Emily (4), who doesn't want baby Will to slobber on her book.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Company in an RV

We had several family members visit last week, and people have asked how we manage to have company, living in an RV.
It takes a lot of creativity.
A lot of patience.
And a lot of love.

The RV paperwork says it sleeps six, but doesn't say anything about space for all their stuff.

The couch makes a queen sized bed.
The table makes an almost double size bed, big enough for two small children, or two adults who really love each other.
One kid slept in the recliner.
The three dogs are all small, so they curled up with whomever would give them a few inches under the quilt.
So the sleeping part we had figured out.

The next part was what to do when Peepaw gets up at the crack of dawn, and the kids want to sleep until noon. That's when we started playing musical beds.

The couch bed turned back into a couch, and whoever was sleeping there came and got in bed with Mimi (that would be me).
The table bed turned back into a table, and whoever was sleeping there came and got in bed with me.
Usually, by this point, I gave up and got up.
Then all the bedding, pillows, and bags were gathered up and put on my bed, around and on top of the children sleeping in it.
At that point, we could start breakfast.
We made big batches of pancakes, bacon and sausage, and everyone zapped their breakfast in the microwave as they got up.
We used paper plates to cut down on dishwashing.
We cooked on the smoker and grill outside as much as possible.
We spent most of our time outside, in the water, on the boat, or in the yard.

My darling put up a clothes line outside for the abundance of towels, swimsuits, and damp clothes, since the tiny bathroom has only one towel bar, and all the stuff hanging from the shower made it a little difficult to take a shower.

The trick was getting the kids to actually hang their stuff on the line.
Another difficulty is that the line is higher than my head, so some of us had a little trouble reaching that far.

The adjustments, the aggravation, the inconveniences are all worth it, to have so much time to spend with those we love.

As I have said every year for the past four years.....
Maybe by next year, the cabin will be built.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Something's Fishy

It's been a doggy kind of week. In addition to our pomeranian, Frankie, our son and dil and their three kids, we also had as guests Oreo the Boston terrier, and Gracie the pug mix. Remember, we live in our RV, so things sometimes seemed....well....just a bit crowded.
Last night I was making barbecue brisket sandwiches for supper, and odor.
Not a pleasant odor.
Not rose petals.
Not the wild honeysuckle that grows between our place and our neighbors.
Not the doggy odor of three wet dogs---well, yes, that too, but something else......
Some indefinable odor....
An unpleasant odor.
A bad odor.
A really bad odor.

So, being a mama and grandma, I asked if anyone had forgotten to flush the commode.
Or stepped in doggy poo, of which we had an abundance, especially since the canine trio are expert panhandler, and (especially Gracie the pug) pros at the sad, deprived, starving expression that elicits hot dog bits, stray chips, and all kinds of other non-doggy treats from gullible humans (naming no names, to protect the guilty).

It wasn't stinky sneakers.
Not damp towels that had been used again and again over three or four days.
Not something in the trash, since the trash had been taken out earlier.

It smelled like dead fish.

That's exactly what it was.

One of the dogs had found a dead catfish in the shore, and of course did what dogs do--she rolled in it. Apparently several times.

Unfortunately, baby shampoo, which is what I bathe Frankie with, does not take away eau de dead catfish.

Neither does lemon juice.

Or Febreze.

You just end up with a combination of flowers, dead fish, and a hint of citrus.

Not exactly the home fragrance one dreams about.

Poor Gracie. All those baths, and she still stunk.

But she still has those gorgeous eyes that just melt your heart.

(Note: I tried numerous times to upload a picture of a Boston terrier, but for some reason it just didn't work right. Sorry, Oreo.)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Thursday thirteen--What's Been Happening This Week

1. Son Scott and two of his kids, Buddy and Sunshine, have been with us at the lake.
2. We have gone out in the boat.
3. We have been swimming.
4. We have been smoking---no, no, not that kind of smoking--cooking brisket and chicken in the smoker.
5. Scott has stacked up firewood, picked up all the kindling, and raked the dead leaves and burned them. Yay!
6. The washer and dryer have been on double duty this week.
8. I did actually hang three loads of laundry today.
9. Then it actually rained, so the clothes on the line may be a little moldy by tomorrow.
10. Gracie the pug mix and Oreo the Boston terrier and Frankie the pom have learned to share the couch, and sleep in an untidy bundle. They all snore.
11. Wick and Scott cleared the brush around the storage barn, and it looks much better.
12. I got hit in the head by the boat canopy bar, the kitchen cabinet, and by falling over in a lawn chair, but I didn't spill my grape cooler.
13. Pie and her soccer team won their regionals, and will be going to nationals in Iowa!

Thursday thirteen bonus points:

14. Watching the kids blow up fireworks last night.
15. Snuggling with Sunshine on the couch under a quilt while watching a family friendly movie.
16. Having time to talk, at leisure, about trivialities and about heart thoughts.
17. Weather in the 80s during the first week in July!
18. Instead of 100-105!
19. Scott's home made peach ice cream--yummmmmm!
20. Chicken salad made from the leftover smoked chicken--also yum.
21. God is giving me peace about the fact that we neither have jobs yet for this fall.
22. Did I mention rain? The lake is low again, so we are hoping for a downpour tonight, and then sunshine tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Wednesday Works for Me--Another use for Zip Bags

Last week I talked about using zip bags for packing daily changes of clothing.
Another good use for these little bags is when picnicing.
I saturate several wash cloths, fold into quarters, and pop each into a sandwich size baggie. Then I drop them into the cooler.
They are great for wiping sticky hands and faces.
If someone falls down, that frozen washcloth makes a great mini-ice pack, flexible, and not too lumpy if you need to lie on it (for bumps on the head).
And they are re-usable, unlike packaged wipes. After a few hours, the cooler ice will have melted, so there is some water in the bottom. Rinse out the washcloth in the cool water, and reuse.
I keep my oldest raggediest washcloths for this purpose.
And you can rinse out the baggies, let them dry, and reuse--just be sure you rinse well, because soapy residue, although it may not be visible, will certainly affect the taste of your sandwiches.

Works for me.

Knockin' My Noggin

You know, sometimes God just has to knock me upside my head to get my attention. This time, it was more than once.
A couple of days ago, we took our son and two of his kids out in the boat to swim in the middle of the lake, away from the jetskiers who love to zoom through our little cove because there are no snags or trees there.
My darling put up the canopy so I wouldn't get burned, and off we went with an armload of towels and a cooler full of drinks. We anchored in deep cool water, and everone jumped in. Within twenty minutes the wind blew up hard, the waves were whitecapping, and the sky was dark. So we headed back to the dock.
We were within sight of the dock when WHAM! One of the canopy straps broke, and the metal bar fell on my head.
Next day, I was cleaning out the cabinet under the sink. I found that about half a bottle of dish detergent had leaked out and turned into a kind of goopy paste, we had both paper plates and paper bowls that I had thought were used up, and a small electric grill that I had completely forgotten we had was hiding way at the back of the cabinet.
I raised up to get a rag out of the sink to clean up the goopy soap stuff, and banged my head on the top of the cabinet.
That smarted.
Then, yesterday afternoon, we were sitting out in the yard talking, while son tended the smoker, on which were cooking a big brisket and a juicy chicken, which meant I would not have to cook for two or three days. I was sitting in one of those molde plastic chairs,on a slope, in soft ground (sandy soil), and husband had just handed me a cold frosty wine cooler, when I felt the downhill legs of my chair start to sink into the ground.
It was like a cartoon, slow motion fall. Very slow, but without time to catch myself, jump out of the chair, or even yell "help". I smacked my head again, scraped up my arm and leg, and now have a purple knot on my other knee.
At least I didn't spill the grape cooler.
so that is three times in three days.
Three bumps on the head.
How does this have anything to do with God?
Well. Last night I was squeegeeing the shower, thinking about putting in a load of laundry, and wondering in the dim misty back part of my mind why we still haven't found teaching jobs for the fall.
Suddenly, plain as anything, I heard Him say, "The place is not prepared yet."
Oh. My.Word
God speaking to me in the shower, stark nekkid, thinking about laundry and cleaning the shower walls. Is that sacriligious? I don't even know how to spell that.
Wick and I agreed when we resigned that we no longer belonged at the place we were last school year. We agreed that God had some other place in mind for us, plans for us to accomplish something for him somewhere else.
Why hasn't He showed us yet where?
"The place is not prepared yet."
Okay, God, you have my attention.
Just as surely as if You had knocked me upside the head.
Prepare us.
Prepare the place.
We're waiting.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Trailer Trash with PinkFlamingos

Ever since we lived in our Airstream after our house burned, (see Adventures in Camping below), daughter Jeana has jokingly (at least I think she is joking) referred to us as trailer trash. And since we now live in our RV, it's sort of true. And if you are trailer trash, you just gotta have pink flamingos . Ooops, no, not live flamingos, pink plastic flamingos.

It all started at a school Christmas party, with a Chinese gift exchange. My darling thought the pink flamingos were cool, and we needed to put them in our yard.

Jeana was ...ummmm.....shall I say, not impressed? But my sister and her husband made them into one of the best jokes we ever experienced.

First, we came home from church one Sunday to find the yard full of baby flamingos, miniatures of the original pair.

Then, suddenly, one of the original pair disappeared. We finally got a note from Pinks, explaining that he had been kidnapped--birdnapped?--and he sent us monthly notes about his travels. With pictures.

One in a hay barn. One where he was in danger of being herded by a sheep dog. His mate, Flossy, seemed very quiet, but she took his disappearance fairly philosophically. she didn't seem all that much happier when he reappeared as suddenly as he had vanished.

Then, on one of our trips to Louisiana, we found a life size wooden flamingo at a flea market. We just had to bring him home, and give him a position of pride on our hearth.

Every time Jeana came over, she moved the flamingo to the patio, next to the hot tub, saying that flamingos need to be near water. As soon as she left, my sweetheart moved the flamingo back to the hearth.

Now that we live in our RV full time, we have no place to put the big flamingo, but the original pair are still dispayed in our yard. Along with flamingo string lights. And a flamingo ring toss game. And I also got a flamingo picture frame from daughter Jamie, for one of the pictures of Pinks on his travels.

Hmmmm. Maybe we could coat the wooden flamingo with spar varnish, and mount him on the boat dock.

That might really send Jeana into spasms of decorating joy.

or maybe not.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Wall

While we were in Branson a couple of weeks ago, we had the opportunity to visit the traveling Viet Nam Memorial. It is a replica of the "Wall" on which the names of soldiers who died in Viet Nam are recorded.
A close friend of mine, David McClelland, is named on that wall. He and I grew up in the same neighborhood, just a few houses apart. We went swimming together, played touch football in our front yard, went to high school together.....Dave was my friend, and a Marine, and he died at the age of twenty, on patrol, along with everyone else in his patrol. His body was not recovered for more than six weeks.
Danny Robinett was my husband's friend. I never met Danny, but I watched as my husband traced Danny's name on that wall.
I cried. So did he.

A kind lady who was working as a volunteer hugged me and wiped my tears. She said she travels with the memorial, and every time she helps put the wall up or take it down, she cries.

We cry for the friends who never came home. The young men who never saw their babies. The sons whose mothers still mourn, whose fathers hide their tears in the dark nights. The brothers, sons, fathers, who are frozen in our memories, forever young, forever brave, forever at the edges of our thoughts, forever in our hearts.
Tuesday is the fourth of July, the day we celebrate our independence. It is a holiday, and many people will be having picnics, going camping, shooting fireworks. I hope you all have a great day.
But I also hope that you will take a moment to remember those who bought our freedom with their blood, who believed that there are things worth dying for, who await us on that farther shore when the circle is complete again, and there will be no sorrow or crying, only rejoicing.

If you know a veteran, give him--or her--a hug.
And thank God that they made it home.