Archive for January, 2012

G looked a little worse for the wear  Saturday morning after successfully defending our home from Chicken Raptors Friday night.  Chicken Raptors are imaginary predators that infest our yard and can only be seen and defeated by Graham and his light saber.  Watch out for the orange ones, they’re by far the worst.

Ava made a set of black and white portraits of each family member.

  Joey surprised me with flowers.

Later over to Becky and Jesse’s for grilled pizza, home-brew, and tomahawk throwing competition without the kiddos- sweet, sweet freedom!

Tomahawks are surprising hard to throw- who knew?

then off to Barnes and Noble for coffee, people watching, and literary criticism.  Be still my heart.


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So it’s been a bit dicey with ethical delemias, funky alignment of the planets, and caffeine withdrawal.  I’m trying to quit Coke Classic, cursing, and overinvolvement with impossible situations I can’t change.  I’ll let you know how all that works out for me.

In the meantime, it’s hard to overestimate the power of a sun-dried tomato risotto with a stout and extra spicy bloody mary.  Add in a free pass to avoid the bath and bedtime dance and I’m almost out of panic mode.

but maybe anxiety and pain and beauty and truth and the impossible all mixed up with a promise that life is not random but matters in a way that defies logic, maybe all that is just being human.

And after all what else are we all if not human?

Maybe it’s just life and not that uncommon to feel that life, at times, is really full of crud and overwhelming and full of people who don’t understand basic stats and people without any spine or compassion.

Maybe it’s normal or maybe it’s not.  Either way it’s real and I hope being honest about it least honors the fact that I’m trying.

Anywhoo, books.  I’ve always been a bibliophile but somehow kept it under wraps.  Now I embrace my nerdiness.  The current fave is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.  Started it last night and had to make myself stop.  I’m awed that in the middle of my disillusionment, God threw this book at me at just the right moment.  Read it, the end.

Not my best book review but still this book made me think, “what if I die and Ava and Graham don’t know that I love this book and they should read it and they need to at least have a list of some sort, even if they ignore it because how can they ever know me if they don’t know how much I love this book”.

Anyway, so here’s the list A and G:

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

the afore-mentioned, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

Saving the World by Julia Alvarex

Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan

One Amazing Thing by Chitra Divakaruni

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver


A and G, I’m embarrassed that two of the books have the Oprah book club sticker- but they are cheaper that way so please don’t hold that against them.

Yes that’s unfolded laundry in the corner.

Also I love you more than you can imagine.

Also I’m not planning on dying anytime soon but read the books anyway, k?

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Chia Pets and Monkeys

Ava got a Chia pet from a family member for Christmas.  It’s seeds get goooey, slimey, and then sticks to the outside.  The whole thing reminds me of a bad sinus infection.  Just saying-it’s gross.

So yesterday, as I’m merging lanes on the interstate, my little animal lover asks for a pet monkey- in Spanish.  After she translates her wish, her brother begins to impersonate said monkey.  When asked the reason for my denial of this request, the best I could do was say, “umm, I think primates can be aggressive” as I continue to weave through traffic.  To which my lovely seven-year old replied, “Well, only the males and especially in mating season.”  TMI Ava TMI!

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Wacky Joe

Joey was gone this past weekend for a rare weekend with college pals.  Missed him.  Tonight he talked to me about the GOP candidates and steam-powered cars.  I smiled,nodded, and added nothing to the conversation.

Yesterday it was Nice Pete’s picture songs of Num, Num babies.  I love that he’s random, witty, and has an off beat, dry sense of humor.  I’d go hang out with him after my dates in college.  Still like hanging out with him.

I love that he gets Cokes when I’m with him, even though he’s all about Dr. Pepper, just so he can share with me.  I love that he sings Nirvana and plays chess with Ava.  Wacky Joe, I’m a fan.

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It’s in the Cards

These funky lamps hopped in my cart on Thursday-I was powerless under their cheery spell and after all I do live in Knoxville

Phase One of fireplace makeover.  We used weathered wood from the Greenback farm to make a larger mantle.

Still needs trim and sizing, paint for bricks and brass but slightly better than before

 These are some of the cards from Panma, my great-grandmother.  Found huge box in my parents basement.  Not sure what but I needed to do something with them.  It was hours of going through the cards she kept throughout her life.

She died when I was 23.  I missed her funeral because I was teaching my first class at the university.  I should have gone.

Growing up I would roll my eyes when she told the same stories over and over.  Now I can appreciate that she raised two children through the great depression, forgave her husband’s infidelity and nursed him through the cancer that took his life, and taught Sunday school for over 50 years.

I would visit her on Saturday nights between my highschool job at Med-i-thrift and my social life.  I never stayed more than 20-30 minutes.  Wish now that I had.  Edna Mary Reagan Copley was a neat lady.  I hope that my great-grandchildren can say that years after I’m gone.

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Sometimes your sister leaves chocolate raspberry bars on your doorstep.  Nothing like chocolate raspberry bars to put the salt back in your soul.  Since I’ve been a little Debbie Downer, I’m trying to focus on some of the wonderful things in my life.  Completely random but I thankful for:

 a sweet, gracious friend buying me Newks for lunch

another sweet friend delivering Newks

yet another sweet friend watching Ava while I was at another school

Sweet Joey taking one for the team and doing all the homework help this week and kiddo baths and being a rock star hubby

Graham still asking for snuggle buggles and his night-night song

Graham’s sweet teacher letting it slide that I totally forgot black and white color show and tell

A chance (slim but still) of snow tonight

Pinterest, the Office, and knowing tomorrow is Friday

 Bye, bye Debbie Downer

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Today I’m spent.  First day back from winter break as G was sick with stomach bug yesterday.  Today I dealt with a dangerous perpetrator, massive bureaucracy, an angry/ill-informed person, and a ball I’d dropped over the break.  Today I feel like the world is going to hell in a handbasket.   My head is spinning with the injustice, perversion, and exploitation of the weak.  I want to shout, “Hey, guys I don’t have the answers, and there’s a lot of pain, suffering, and crap.   I don’t understand it and I can’t fix it!”.  It’s not fair, or right, or politically correct and heaven help us:  I can’t fix it.  I know without a shadow of a doubt there is one who comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  I also know without a shadow of a doubt there is One who is in me who is greater than the one who is in the world.  This Jesus says, “Have peace in me, in the world you will have trouble but take heart, I have overcome the world”  John 16:33ish.   Good thing cause I’m spent, weak, and broken and I can’t fix it!

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Good Will Hunting

Before:  ugly frames from Good-Will

During: Spray paint, hot glue, and burlap

After:  Much Improved!

Isn’t everything better with burlap?

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Miss January is a lemon chiffon cupcake piled high with whipped cream cheese icing flavored with pink lemonade and topped with lemon zest

She reminds me a lot of my favorite 7-year-old: she’s sweet, unique, and with a bit of zest

These were the runners-up waiting to iced-they looked so cheery that I had to share

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We’ve been savoring the last few days of break.  Having a playdate in pjs is always a good idea.

A and G were feeling artsy

Who doesn’t need a snow globe with a veggie/plant person inside?

These animal kits came from the dollar tree

My artists love to paint (more dollar tree crafts)

Ava insisted that a tea party was a must for today.  She set the table, planned the menu, and made the tea sandwiches.  Munchkins are high-class don’t you know.

Special guests Annabelle and Little Sweetheart

The kids squealed in delight when they saw the sprinkles on the applesauce.

I will miss this when it takes more to impress them.

Lest you have an unrealistic view of our happy home time, the following statements are a sampling from today:

Yikes, we do not sit naked on the carpet.

No throwing glitter glue.

There are no tea party police.

Please don’t lick your hand before handing me food.

Underwear is non-negotiable because I’m the mom and I say so.

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