Friday, January 31, 2014

Random 5 Friday

I'm such a slacker. I've not blogged all week and now I have something like an art show lined up for you all when I find out it's RANDOM 5 FRIDAY and no one told me!

1. It is after 5 o'clock in the afternoon and there is still light outside! Besides that being exciting news, this sort of information always makes me think of my dad. He used to send me emails every day and usually the first email was about the status of the day. He'd give me the weather conditions, the temperature and sometimes the length of the day, especially at this time of the year.

I searched my email for some and I'm beginning to get upset, but here you go. I guess it's a bit therapeutic.

> Its been starting out in the 50s and low 60s, then getting up to 90
> last several days.  The weather personality on 10pm news said that was
> about over, as several cool fronts are coming this way from the far far north.

> Dad.

> >Its up to 50F now, was 47 when I was up
> > reeeeal early. I got up at 7:30 to stay because I was cold.

> >Hows it
> > > going in Iowa?  We got a little bit of rain this morning and
> > > cooler / dryer air.
> > > Dad.

2. OK. I had to stop.  

3. Tomorrow is the day my dad was born. He would have been 75. 

4. I am having a steak dinner tonight at home and now I feel like I have deserved the wine I'm going to pour!! :) 

5. I need to go buy tin foil. Do you still call it tin foil? It's not really tin. Was it ever tin or was it always aluminum? Aluminum was discovered in 1825, after all. 

One day last week - a riveting post of mediocrity in photographs

One morning last week, I was eating toast and drinking coffee while reading my favorite paper, the Wall Street Journal. Here's the set up: I'm eating, drinking, listening to music and reading. 

I saw an article titled, "Very Candid Camera: My Shirt is Snapping a P..." I don't know if it said photo or picture, but you get the idea. If you want to read it, click here. At first I thought it would be creepy and the author says with the little white camera he felt like a creep. He liked the bigger black camera you see in the article below for a number of reasons, but I don't want to ruin the ending for you. 

Because I am annoying, I thought, "Hey, I could do that!" Except I very quickly realized, with mirrors all around, that a photo of what was literally in front of me would not do.

So here is my getting ready angle shot. I did turn and look at this, if that matters. I listen to old radio shows in the morning and am currently going through the Phillip Marlowe series. It's taking forever, but it's good.

In case you haven't heard, it's been cold in this country. Here in the upper Midwest, Canada has been oversharing. Again. This is my commute: everything is the same color, eh? 

Because there is no one in my office willing to offer me valet parking, I have to walk through the parking lot. In nine years, I've only fallen once. It was last month. There was NO ice anywhere except where someone might have thrown out some liquid from the bottom of a bottle or something along those lines and GUESS WHO FOUND IT? 

We have a client that makes these wonderful pastry items and we get a case of frozen pastries every now and then. We recently got one and someone takes them home and bakes them for our enjoyment. Here is an almond pastry. It isn't my favorite. I don't think I ate the filling in this one. I like almond filling, but it wasn't working. Whatever. 

Oh and those are my coworkers in fancy hats. Although I did not pick the hats for them. 

After eating my second meal of the day, I drove to my library. There was a meeting I was going to for a networking group and they just happened to pick my lovely library.

I was trying to walk and be not-obnoxious while I went to circulation to turn in my reading program slip. That led to this blurry photo. Spying is out for me, I'm afraid. This is the very moment I got the Global Warming Pen! I wonder if she would have posed for me...

This is what was left of the dainty lunch I served myself. I was one of the first people through the line and I didn't want to pile up the BBQ pork.

The food came from a local restaurant that now runs the cafe that is in the library. It looks like this: 

I went back to the office and saw my coworkers for the first time. Grande, the tall girl, is laughing because I am fabulously entertaining. She's a gem. 

While I was gone, the office had catering from Chipotle in for lunch. This is all that was left. I managed to eat too much of it, but it was delicious. Also, hello Mom! I am playing Words With Friends here for my mother. 

 After work, I saw a truck from a company called Prudent Produce, which made me ponder the prudent nature of produce, but I pondering past the point of posting a picture. It drove on.

We went with friends to a friendly French restaurant with our bottle of German wine. I memorized the menu trying to decide what I could get other than what I always get, but I ordered what I always get:

After we almost closed the place down, I got home and played games with my mother again. This was my view: 

No, that isn't a wild animal. It's just Annabelle.

So there is my day. What did I learn that day? That I need to stop eating so much. So this week I have begun counting my calories again. Right now I'm starving because I'm saving up for tonight's steak dinner.

Monday, January 27, 2014


My company party isn't in December, which I think is a great choice. It's always a shindig, a hootenanny, a darn-good party. 

This is a shot of downtown Des Moines facing east toward the capitol building. There are two arches in the photo: the thick white arch on the left is the outdoor skating rink. The rounder one on the left is, I think, the amphitheater. Both are on the river. The brown building just under the amphitheater that's lit from the ground is the old library, now the World Food Prize building. Click here if you're interested.

I'm telling you, she puts up with a lot. But who is so cute? Is it us? Yes. Yes, it is. 

I pressured both of them to get photos. Oddly, I picked out their hats. Guess who's over me? Is it both of them?  Yes. Yes, it is.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Random 5 Friday

I've come back for another round of Random 5 Friday, which is a meme thingy and there is a link. Maybe I'll do that this time. Whatever. That's a housekeeping issue here and not something you are interested in.

1. I love my job. There are many reasons for this and this week's reason is that I am allowed to stream live video and listen to anything I want. I've been live streaming the protests in Kiev and listening to homily after homily by Fr. John Riccardo, a priest in Michigan who will surprise you.

2. My mother used to take a nap at the end of the work day, which was something I didn't quite understand. Just this morning I was marveling at her ability to come home, get on the couch at some point and nap. I still can't do that because I don't own a couch and I know from experience, once I go down, I don't get up. But even so, there would be no actual napping going on. I missed the boat on the genetic pond, so to speak. It's a shame, really, because I could use a nap every afternoon these days.

3. I recorded my entire day in photographs this past Wednesday because of an article I read in the Wall Street Journal. So you have that to look forward to. 

4. I am enrolled in my local library's adult reading program, as I enjoy doing twice a year. I read a lot of very old books. Well, in the universe of books, they aren't very old. When I turned in the first book's entry (little papers with my name, the name of the book and so on), I got a little prize. Hold on. I'll take a photo. 

Our servers must be very busy. This is taking forever. Must be all that live streaming. Please stand by. 

OK. Gosh, I restarted my computer and waited patiently for what seemed like hours over here. But I think the server room coughed up the hair ball and now I can give you the photos of my prize. 


It's a pen. With the world on it. Only the world is roughly 90% water and the continents have been almost submerged. So it's a global warming pen, I guess. Exciting.

5. My company is giving us a holy-buckets-great-big hootenanny at a fancy place this evening, so I have to go get ready for that. But I really need a nap first.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My, my, my it's a beautiful world I like drinking Irish tea

I got a tea pot for Christmas this year. It came with those little packages you see in the photo below. They're supposed to blossom in the hot water into little sea monkeys that make you a cup of tea.

I like my tea to be able to stand up and fight like a man, so herbal tea isn't something I drink a lot of. But this sort of science experiment is right up my alley, so I brought the entire package to work so as to share the joy of science with the coworker who cannot get away from me. She has a name, but I think she needs a blog name. Newgirl, what should your blog name be? Grande?

Here's a close up of the guilded lotus (sic). Apparently there is a lotus cartel somewhere in the world. Perhaps the secret society of tea flowers. Maybe this was stolen from the international lotus trade union.

I think they meant gilded lotus. I hate to be a jerk about these things.

Here is Grande humoring me and putting the hottest water we have into the pot. See how excited she is? She's totally humoring me. Remind me to leave her something in my will.

Getting down to business. Or rising to the top. Filling it to the rim with Brim.

It looked ... um ... unappetizing. We persevered and threw it in there as you can see. But I felt a little skeptical this thing was going to flower into the drug cartel lotus of bright shining gold pictured on the package.

Everyone at work getting into the act. We know excitement when we see it.

After a few minutes, it looked like a sea urchin had been reconstituted in the tea pot. But clearly something was happening and it looked like colored hot water.

The end result is that I drank it all. It was pretty much herbal tea: colored hot water with a little flavor to it. If it got into a fight with my sassy, ass-kicking Irish tea imported from Ireland, it would lose. But the Irish don't like to fight, right?

Sassy Irish tea pictured below. When I make this stuff, I never remove the tea bag from the cup. I like 'em strong.

Beautiful World by Colin Hay gave me the blog title today. Thanks, man. 

My, my, my it's a beautiful world
I like drinking Irish tea
With a little bit of Lapsang Souchong
I like making my own tea

Monday, January 20, 2014

Winter joy in three very small things

So maybe I complain about winter. Have you caught that? But let me defend myself! It's cold, windy, wet and dark. I don't really mind the winter as much as spring, which is my least favorite season. I wouldn't like to skip spring, because there is certainly beauty in the season. Winter brings some fun that only comes in cold weather. Winter brings challenges all its own. And winter makes me slow down, which is something I really need once football season and the holidays end. January and February have usually been pretty unpleasant - long, dark, dreary. Then March and April pretend they care about warmer weather, but they really do not.

First thing about winter is I get a lot done in the house. Just this weekend alone, I washed things I have rarely or possibly never washed: oven mitts, a stuffed animal from high school, my collection of slippers. I washed pillows and comforters and of course, clothes. I put away and organized all my wrapping paper and supplies, both regular and Christmas all in their own little containers. I wrapped upcoming birthday presents. I cooked. I made a big project in the kitchen. I baked and froze cookies (I always think this will make them last, but I freeze them and then end up eating frozen cookies for a week).

So there's that. I get all organized and clean and I send things to Goodwill and so on. A few other things:

At work I put pickling spice and clementine rinds (when I have them) into a cup of hot water and let it warm all day long right by my keyboard. It might sound like an odd combination, but I really enjoy it and it isn't so strong that the people outside my office can smell it.

On my desk where visitors to my office can see it, I use snowmen to brighten things up a little since it's cold outside and we don't often get enough snow for good snowmen anyway. When I walk in and out of my office, it makes me smile.

Lastly, I leave this wreath on my door. I leave it all winter even though I have about seven wreaths I can put up throughout the house for the holiday. I paid $1 or $2 for this from the grocery store years ago and it's a great bargain for all the smiles it has given me. Our house faces the east and so in the morning, I get in my car and I can't tell you the number of mornings I sit and look at it before I back out of the driveway. I took this photo this past weekend and it hit me hard that although I've been looking for it all winter, I have not seen it sparkle and twinkle for most of the winter this year. I have never been able to capture the joyful, happy, shimmery winking and glittery sparkle of the morning sunlight hitting that wreath in the winter mornings. It makes me happy every sunny day.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Blizzard of '14

Yesterday I drove home in a blizzard as you see above. That was my view out of the car during my second rush-hour blizzard ever. It took me two hours to get home! What cracked me up about the photo above is that the photo turned out clearer than what I had before my eyes on reality TV's new show, Caron Lives in Southern Canada. 

As I passed Casey's General Store, about an hour into the drive, with the parking lot looking like a truck stop, I was glad I had an almost-full tank of gas. Feeling smug about it and not making any progress down the road, I posted on Facebook something about how the blizzard is exactly the reason why you should keep your tank full in the winter. Then, thinking I would be smote from above for being haughty, I watched the gas tank thingy in my dashboard the rest of the way home. Just in case. 

The reason why this was a good lesson is that the day and the afternoon was calm and boring in the weather department. Do you remember in Little Town on the Prairie how the blizzard popped up and Laura was afraid Pa and Almanzo wouldn't make it back safely? I imagined the cats in a conclave at the house, afraid no one would dispense food in time and planning who could break into the cupboard where we hide a bowl of food. How long could Ma grind a cup of flour? How long would it last? How far can one bowl of cat food spread? I knew they were concerned. But like Pa and Almanzo, we were all working and minding our own business. Hence, everyone was asleep while the snow began. We saw it and rolled our Upper Midwestern eyes because we're so over it this year with the snow. Then it stopped snowing. No rush-hour drama for us today! 

This is my normal view outside the window of my office. Ya'll have seen it before. 

I was busy at my desk when I noticed it had gotten darker. I looked up and I couldn't see much of anything outside my window. Then the snow piled up to at least an inch in about 30 minutes, maybe less. Then the wind hit 50 mph. Then the National Weather Service said it was a blizzard, but I was already in the car by then because I had planned to get home early. This is the photo I took before I put my coat on. The orb in the middle of the photo is just my sweater reflecting in the glass. 

I was driving calmly because the guy on the radio said to stay calm and be patient and also because I'd done this 18 years ago. My first winter in Iowa it did this except the snow began at lunch, so there was a million inches of snow on the ground at the end of the work day. More snow means more blowing snow, more stuck tires, etc. Not much snow means more icy glaze on the road. We had icy glaze last night.

When I got to my car and turned her on, I took the photo below. See? Not as much snow as '96. But it was dry and the wind was 50 mph and I want you to know that once again, the camera took photos that are clearer than what I could see. Do I have cataracts? Should I have driven by the camera phone?

I drove five miles to the house. It took one hour and 50 minutes, so for the drama I say two hours. A kid I work with who just graduated college said it took him two hours and then he said he went all the way to the south of town, which is double what I drove. I wonder why it takes me longer than everyone else to get home in the same blizzard. It happened that way in 1996, too. I forgot to take a photo before I turned off my car, but in the end, my average speed was 3 mph.

What's odd is that normally the local media get whipped up into a frenzy when there might be snow, but this sort of came at us our of nowhere and all the time I was driving home, I felt like Ma in the blizzard at Plum Creek, the Big Woods and the Little Town on the Prairie. And just when did I start feeling like Ma and not Laura? How depressing.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Learning a foreign language

The boys have been in Spanish this year and have had what looks to me like success. I can relate better than they realize, but not because I took years of German with progressively lower grades until I finally graduated high school with a D in German III. 

I got that D only because the teacher allowed me to write many (like what? a dozen, maybe) short essays on food, destinations, traditions and culture in Germany. German I is a class I remember. I sat behind Susan and we made each other giggle. I still remember the dumb lesson about the newspaper:

Q: Where is the newspaper?
A: Today is Tuesday.

We laughed at the absurdity of these conversations we would never use. Mostly, we laughed at this one because, if you listen closely, you can hear the real reply whispered from a corner of the classroom:

Q. Where is the newspaper?
A. It's Tuesday, you moron.

If you look up zeitung in Google images, you get this confounding image:

What is she sleeping with? Even the headline is curious. 
Apparently the newspaper in question wasn't delivered on Tuesday, which is an odd day to skip publishing, but that was not explained to the ignorant little Americans. All the audio for this class was on LP vinyl the teacher played on a big, brown school record player. Lift the needle, lower the needle, but we got by despite the technology of our day. 

German II was spent sitting in a room with sunshine pouring through the windows (there's a window memory). Herr Reck didn't teach a thing about German, as I recall. I had a permanent late pass to German II because I was in the school store. I don't remember missing anything, either. Herr Reck took us to London. To be fair, we already lived in Germany. To be fair, I think he liked visiting London. But it would have been cheaper and faster to take us somewhere in Germany. 

German III was in Texas. American teacher in a Texas high school. I hated that school, I hated Texas, I hated her, I hated her class, I hated her lisp. The only good things were the extra credit papers that I got to write in English. I think she was afraid I would come back to her class another year if she didn't let me pass. 

Once she had the class to her house and we made German food, which was nice. These days, she'd be arrested. In the years since I returned to the United States, I have never had really good German food. Since 1982. I was pretty disappointed with the spaetzle at her house, but it was fun making it. The German III class was all girls, too. That made for interesting dynamics for teen-aged drama and nightmares. 

This photo sums up my feelings about the high school in Texas and especially the German III class (although I'm grateful for the super easy extra credit). It also apparently sums up how Germany feels about bailing out bankrupt countries. 

But I'm not writing about German. I'm writing about Irish. 

Years ago, I decided to look into the Irish language. I started trying it out a little here and there at a job where I sat at a computer for 8 hours with about 30 minutes of work every day. It was impossible to figure out the words at that time. I fiddled with it here and there and tried to make sense of a language that bears no resemblance to anything that I was familiar with and offers up only 18 lonely letters in the alphabet. So I put it aside. 

Then years later, I decided to try again. One thing foolishly led to another and I assembled a merry band of people who were also interested in deciphering a language that is lovely to listen to, but difficult to master. Ummm, not master, exactly. We would have been happy to retain even the smallest amount of information about what letters and letter combinations sounded like. 

I showed a teen-aged girl a kid's book that I have. It is in Irish and I was flipping through it. She asked if I had read it and I said no. I couldn't read yet, although I eventually learned a bit. With a deadpan expression, she said with dry sarcasm, "How can you teach a class in Irish if you can't read a little kid's book written in Irish?"


I spent a few years reminding everyone, "I'm not actually the teacher." That's  mĂșinteoir in case you're interested. It's pronounced moon-chore, but there are a lot of nuances in the language and I can't explain them here. So please just go with moon-chore. 

When you look up the word in Google images, you get this exciting teacher-related photo:

In elementary school, back in the early to mid-seventies, back when diversity had a lowercase "d" and wasn't something political, my second-grade teacher decided to introduce us to refried beans and tortillas. I don't remember what else she made us that afternoon. The refried beans were heated up in an electric skillet in our room and most of us were convinced she was feeding us dog food. But I think that may have been the year we started eating tacos at our house, so it was a win. Because Mexican food is delicious.  

Refried beans in Google images brings up this startling image of eyeballs:

At the same school, in the fifth grade, my teacher Mrs. Derby had a student teacher who spoke some Spanish. He was a white guy with brown hair who looked a lot like KC from KC and the Sunshine Band and we were sort of happy to be distracted from our regular duties to learn a language from so far away that we had absolutely no practical need of. Little did we know! He taught us to count to ten, the days of the week, our names and probably a few other things. But it wasn't part of the curriculum and he was only there for a semester or six weeks or something like that. We went back to our regular writing, reading and math. 

He was pretty cute, eh? How did we giggly girls learn any Spanish? 

Around that time I read a book about a girl who was Mexican. Her family lived in a box car. The kids at school were mean to her because she hadn't learned to speak English yet. I don't know how the issue was resolved, but of course she is a nice girl and it was a kid's book. We can assume it ended well. Anyway, the important take away from this book is that I memorized lo siento, which is Spanish for I'm sorry. Not that I use it. 

Reading is fundamental. But Blogger for Android is not. I just accidentally deleted the image of the book. Maybe KC is into computers these days. 

Here is the book again:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014



Shameless blog rip off: windows

I'm ripping off a windows blog from my pal Rose who writes a wonderful blog nothing like mine here. Today's post, which you can read here is about windows and it brought to mind some windows in my life.

The first window that comes to my mind is a window in my grandmother's house. I spent the night with her a lot when I was a kid, or so it seems to me. In the summer, I would lay with my head at the foot of the bed. This arrangement allowed me to look out the open window, which was supposed to get a little breeze in the hot house and usually failed miserably. I would listen to the traffic on the busy street out front and listen to the bells from the church across the street. I imagined there was someone whose job was to ring the bells every hour.

My other grandmother had a big window in her bedroom and although I never spent very much time in my grandmothers' bedrooms, I have one memory of her room and it surrounds the big window with lovely filmy curtains gently blowing in a soft breeze coming in from the back yard.

I moved around a lot as a kid and then I found myself moving a lot as an adult. Finally, I moved to Des Moines and got myself a cute little apartment with old, drafty windows that I mostly kept covered up in cold weather. But cold or not, I didn't put up curtains at the kitchen window and I read something about how Army Brats sometimes don't do "permanent" things like put up curtains in kitchens. That was the window I looked out the most to check the weather, criminal activity in the laundromat parking lot and so on.

When I was a child, I spent a lot of time in a hospital in my hometown. I can remember being in the playroom with my mom when a building in the city caught on fire. We could see the black smoke from the window of the room.

I remember being alone with my dad one summer in a pick up truck that may or may not have had AC. I had my legs crossed, feet up on the dash and sunshine pouring through the front windshield. I believe the song on the radio was The Things We Do For Love by 10cc. The song, my tan legs, breeze in my hair and relaxed attitude made me feel carefree and grown up.

My grandson was born on my grandmother's birthday and I called to tell her as I stood at a window looking outside at a brick wall.

In the 7th grade, I swore because my brother and I missed the school bus and I got slapped as I walked back in the house. Apparently THAT window was open. Who knew? I certainly did not. I also didn't swear in front of my mother for decades, so ... well played, Mom!!

We lived in Tennessee in a house where my bed was between two windows. I can remember laying at the open window during a light rain storm. There were lilacs or honeysuckle outside and I could smell the strong fragrance. I wanted to remember that forever and so far I'm on track. Except for the honeysuckle/lilac debate. If I had to pick and lie to you about which one it was, I'd go with lilac.

In Texas I had a window at the foot of my bed and I slept with the window open so our cat Fritz could come and go at night. I usually woke up with him in my bed, but sometimes he woke me up as he came in.

My office of nine years has a window in it. In fact, the entire wall from side to side is glass. I look out at trees and deer and birds. In the past four years, there are fewer animals to look at and that makes me sad. Early on, I saw a raccoon asleep in a tree just feet from me. I wish the windows opened even just a crack on nice days, but they don't.

What surprises me is that as I'm thinking about windows, there aren't as many memorable windows as I think there should be. Also, the windows bring up only the smallest moments in time. I can't think of any big-ticket window moments.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Random Five for Friday

There's this blog thing some bloggers do. Five things on Friday. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to link this somewhere, but here we go for now.

1. I looked at my Pinterest pins and I have 20 million pins, none of which I had ever, you know, actually gone back to look at again. I think the point of Pinterest, if there is a point, is to index things to refer to, read, create, bake or laugh at later. So today I looked at mine and I only deleted two pins. Most of my pins are still lovely or funny or relevant. I could look at them endlessly like old family photographs. What's more, my pins are a visible collage of what makes me fabulous. And that, my friends, may be the real point of Pinterest. Get on Pinterest and see what makes you fabulous and infinitely interesting.

2. I have never had a stranger quote me back to me. (When Harry Met Sally reference)

3. A mouse once woke me up because it was chewing on cookies so loudly. Think about that. The crunching woke me.

4. A business lunch today turned into a long discussion about Dr. Who, possibly showcasing a deplorable want of good manners on my part.

5. A local self-serve bakery has a sign by the take-out boxes saying,  "boxes are for 3 or more pastries only" but their pastries are so big, only two pastries fit in a box and smashed together at that. This sort of bureaucracy pisses me off.

One Friday Morning

I finally got to work this morning, fully dressed, and am currently sitting at my desk when this happens: I start to get up from my chair and I realize I have one boot on, one boot off.

Do you remember the nursery rhyme?
Diddle, diddle dumpling, my son John
Went to bed with his stockings on
One shoe off, one shoe on.

That's me and my shoes right now. Furthermore, I do believe the free foot has been prancing around being carefree and foolish with the fidgets. And now my foot is cold.

I don't recall taking the boot off or why I took the boot off. It isn't even 11:00 in the morning. Is this a sign?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

In which I ask the musical question: What's Going On?

In order to abate your breathless excitement about my return to blogging, I looked through all the photos on my phone, which of course, besides Facebook, is the only chronicle of my existence these days. If you are actually experiencing breathless excitement and do not want it to end, stop reading.

Also, am currently in the depths of decision making. Do I pay 2013 prices for opening and closing my grave or do I wait until I am dead and make someone else pay for it at current prices? The cemetery sent an email. They want to know.

Here are some of what I've been up to.

One year ago yesterday, something insane happened to my back during a slow 3-mile run. My foot began to hurt and the pain moved quickly up to my hip through my knee. A few days later, I could hardly move. There was a lot of pain on top of some other medical issues to add to the mix. I sat at work on an ice pack. I was so much fun. How my coworkers handle me I can hardly imagine. Except of course that most of the time I'm a delight to be around and I have a great personality.

Shut up.

Despite the stupidity going on behind me, so to speak, my doctor told me I should run. "It will shake your muscles loose and besides, runners are crazy. If you don't start running soon, we'll have mental health issues." You have to love a doctor who gets it. So I started running like a grandma post hip-surgery. At least in my mind, I was being cautious and I'm sure that although I think I took my time, I probably took a few cautious runs and then said, "this is crap" because in July I ran or walked hills to the tune of 100 miles.

In October, I ran what I think was my best half marathon ever. I also did a run/walk/run all year long, but on The Day I ran the entire 13.1 miles. Proving that you do not have to kill yourself all year just to complete an event. Chill, fellow runners.

I may or may not have spent a lot of time and money on this one. The thing is, and don't most of us realize this, when he goes away to college and I don't get to see him it will not have been enough time or enough money or enough prayer or enough love or enough lecturing or enough of anything. I already wish I could rewind 6-7 years and snuggle more, hang out more, pray more, spend more, love more.

Speaking of going back in time, I only recently started hanging out a lot more with this one. I had let his shyness hold me back, but not any more. This guy makes me smile. Ditto the 6-7 year rewind. He's a junior in high school, so I still have some time to put in a big supply of Kleenex for when he goes to college.

I do my level best to keep this girl amused. Like suggesting she use potato chip bag clips in her hair. And then photographing them. And then popping those photos up unexpectedly, which makes her so happy not ever. She loves me. Who wouldn't?

 Apparently I spent some time at football games. If you know me on Facebook, you get that: it's sort of a joke. I miss very few football games these days.
 I visited family here and there in the last two years. This is me visiting family when I was a teenager. A couple years ago, my mom, my niece and I visited my dad's sister in Tennessee. Mostly I visit the Ohio relatives. I have relatives elsewhere on the future to-visit list. Hope they let me in when I get there.
Football players ripping through Doritos. The guy in the back is the youngest and I'm not sure yet what he'll be doing in high school. I'm not convinced football is his gig. He wants to play drums. I'm not touching that with a ten-foot pole. His parents might kill me.
Oh and track meets. How I love track meets. The world loves a good track meet. Let me tell you in case you didn't know: attending track meets is a sign of love that surpasses attendance at any. other. sport. known to teen-aged athletes. Talk about watching grass grow. Literally, you can watch it grow because track meets are 12,32.y9 hours long and your runner finishes his event in 46 seconds. If that isn't love, it's lunacy.