Monday, December 25, 2006

Prayer for Deedie and Ramsey - Christmas Day

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Please pray that God would keep Deedie, Ramsey, Aschen and all of those involved with the adoption process safe. That He would protect the other children and caregivers in the orphanage and that others won't be afraid to continue with their adoption plans now that primarily Christian Ethiopia has gone to war with mostly Islamic run Somalia (by all accounts the fighting is taking place in Somalia and Ethiopia is safe.)

Even knowing that the fighting isn't happening in Ethiopia itself, I'll be so relieved to hear Deedie and Ramsey and Baby Aschen are back safely on U.S. soil.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Running playlist.

Three times this week someone asked what I listen to when I run (plus I told one other person who didn't really ask but I told them anyway.) Here's a partial list:

(Warm Up)
Killing Me Softly - Fugees

La Tortura - Shakira & Alejandro Sanz
Pon de Replay - Rihanna
Bitch - Meredith Brooks (seriously, if you're shaking your head and tsk-tsk'ing right now? The lyrics to this song are perfect. One of my favorite songs.)
Alison's Starting to Happen - The Lemonheads
Nearly Lost You - Screaming Trees
Bring Me to Life - Evanessence
Faint - Linkin Park
Sabatage - Beastie Boys
Girlfriend - Matthew Sweet
Be My Yoko Ono - Barenaked Ladies
Ain't No Other Man - Christina Aguilera
Authority Song - John Cougar Mellencamp
Stupid Girls - Pink
All I Really Want - Alanis Morissette
Beverly Hills - Weezer
Hey Jealousy - Gin Blossoms
Your Love - The Outfield
The King of Bedside Manor - Barenaked Ladies
I Want You to Want Me - Letters to Cleo
The Boys of Summer - Don Henley
The Distance - Cake
Desire - U2
All Right Now - Free
Mama Said Knock You Out - L.L. Cool J
And She Was - Talking Heads
You Spin Me Round - Dead or Alive
Just Like Heaven - The Cure
Hit Me Up - Gia Farrell
Life Less Ordinary - Carbon Leaf
Why Can't I? - Liz Phair (Yes, not "real" Liz Phair tunage, I know, but still runable.)
Gone - Switchfoot
Are You Gonna Be My Girl - Jet
Wonderful Night - Fatboy Slim
Tainted Love - Soft Cell
What I Got - Sublime

Very schizo mix, no? Works for me. Obviously I don't get through the whole list... yet.

Running Challenge Accountability: Friday 12/22 - 3 minute warm up, 35 minutes running

What the farm?!

So all night I've been trying to figure out the anwser to this burning question:

Who sang the 80's rock ballad classic "Total Eclipse of the Heart?"

If you said "Bonnie Tyler" then you are way smarter (or older) than I am.

P.S. After we hard this song on the radio? We heard one with the lyrics "...closer than my peeps you are to me, baby..."

Pure. Musical. Genius.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Girly Health - UPDATE

Hmm. Yesterday? Not a good day. Had my appointment with my primary care doctor. Took in my info from the the girly doc, printed out a week's worth of Weight Watcher's food diary to show what food I've been eating and the running I've been doing (down to the time and speed I've been running) and didn't wax or pluck any of the fun little facial hairs because I figured they're "symptoms" and he'd need to see them. I was actually pretty excited to be getting this taken care of, remember? Yeah, not so much.

First hint that things may go bad? I'm telling the doctor about my blood work in Maryland (which is in the chart in front of him) and about my girly doc appointment Friday. He glances down at the chart and says, "That's odd because I don't see anything about glucose in here." Since the nurse from this very office called me last week to let me know they'd gotten my records and the nurse from my old practice in Maryland called me to see if I'd followed up with my new doctor I figured that was a good reason to go ahead and follow up with my doctor, right? He just seemed... irritated? I think that's a good word to describe it. So I mentioned that yes, that's a little weird considering that was the whole point of the appointment and start telling him about the reason I went to the girly doctor and what's been going on.

First I mention the acne and weird little facial hairs. He didn't write anything down, didn't ask if how long this had been going on or if I had any other symptoms. So I also mention the fact that I'd never had a weight problem before and the only other time I'd needed to lose weight (which was after two pregnancies) I followed the program and did it with no problem. I showed him the print outs from Weight Watchers. He didn't look at them. But he did start talking:

Dr.: Your body is like a checking account. You put energy in, in the form of food, just like you'd put money into your account. You take energy out when you exercise, just like making a withdrawal from your account...
Me: What?
Dr: At the end of the month, if you have more energy in your "account" than what you use? You won't lose weight.
Me: Uh, ok, but what about this then? (holding up print outs) And why is my body no responding to the very same thing it did two years ago? And why is this weight more around my middle and torso (probably first time in my life I ever said "torso") instead of around my hips and thighs like any other time I gained a few pounds?
Dr.: See this piece of paper? (holds up paper) This is your checking account statement...
Me: ...the hell?!
DR.: the end of the month, if this shows more in than out? No matter what you say, you won't be losing any weight.
Me: Are you kidding me? ::sniff::

Oh, yes, the crying started. This doctor had no clue as to what I had come in for. He didn't pay any attention to anything I'd said - didn't pay attention to the acne, the hair, the weird weight gain. If I hadn't had everything written down by my girly doc I doubt he'd have done anything at all. I started sniffling. That's the first time I've ever had a doctor talk down to me like I'm a ridiculous child. I know how my body works. I know to eat less and exercise more. If I didn't, I'd have had a weight problem long before this started. He has my records, he can see (if he looked) that my weight is higher than normal for me.

Aside from the weight, this guy has to have some clue that this PCOS issue also means Rusty and I won't be having any more kids unless we want to go through a lot of fun drug interaction. Right now I need to start taking birth control pills to get a regular period again. You have to be ovulating and having a period to get pregnant. But you can't get pregnant while taking birth control pills. So stop the pills... and stop ovulating and you're back to square one. PCOS is one of the most common reasons for infertility. He has to know that. And yet no questions about whether I was ok with this or if we'd been wanting any more kids. Do we want more kids? 99% sure we'd have said "No, thank you." But having that 1% taken away with no say in the matter really cements the deal for you and that's a hard thing to think about - having no choice anymore.

Now, I'd like to pause for a moment. Some of you may be thinking, "Well, doctors can be kind of bad when it comes to personal matters or empathy or whatever." And, you'd be right. Except? I found this guy through the Christian Blue Pages. Yes, against my better judgement. I don't automatically go for "Christian advertising" for this very reason. This doctor's resume is very impressive and his resources are another reason why we chose him (he runs a sports injury clinic as well) so I figured it was a good mix. The first appointment we had he asked if he could pray for us because (he said) it sounded like we'd had a hectic couple of months with the move and Liam's therapy. I was a little surprised but it was kind of nice I guess. He's a nice guy and was great with Sean at his appointment. But when something really personal happens and I could use a little bit of extra understanding? You'd think Mr. Christian Doctor Man would be the first in line seeing as how he really should understand the implications of how this will affect a lot of personal areas of my life. But no. Instead I get the condescending "Your body is a checking account" talk and when he sees my total amazement at his lack of sensitivity he leaves the room, comes back with my lab orders and walks out again (I'm still sniffing and obviously trying to not fall apart.) He does turn around once in the hallway and says, "If you have any questions don't hesistate to call me!" and walks away. So much for all those bible versus plastered on your website and your Christian music playing in the waiting room. Where's all that "Can I pray for you?" crap now?

Maybe I'm just irritable (or hormonal! Surprised he didn't throw in the old "you're just hormonal" angle to really seal the deal and get me going.) But I was insulted. Was I talked down to because I'm chubby? Because he's a Christian man in a position of authority and I'm a woman? Because he's a clueless wonder and had no idea what to say? I don't know and I don't care at this point. If you're going to claim to be a "Christian Doctor" and a "Christian Practice" and advertise it all over the place then follow through and even if you do think I'm just a hormonal whack-job? This is what I mean... use Christianity to suck people in and then once you've got them, treat them like dookie. Has happened at churches we've been to while I was growing up, happened in school all the time and that's why I avoid "Christian professionals" who us Christianity in their advertising. Liam's therapist is a Believer but he doesn't advertise it. And he's amazing. God really does work through him. This doctor I saw yesterday? I know I'm not supposed to be judging and blah blah blah but I'm going to go with my initial feeling that God would have whacked him on the head and asked what the crap he though he was doing talking to someone like that.

And I guess this post kind of reveals my feelings about "Christians." I'm scared of them. I'm scared of anyone who uses their Christianity to gain anything other than their salvation. I love people who are sensitive, sometimes unsure, funny, sympathic, occasionally angry about something, empathetic, and sometimes not very nice and who also happen to be followers of Christ and will openly admit they're imperfect and sorry about that. But I can't stand "Christians" who are "Christian" when it suits them and otherwise have no use for you. Maybe I'm being harsh. But I had a hard day yesterday.

And my "checking account" is a little low this morning because I've yet to make my daily caffeine deposit.

Monday, December 18, 2006

UPDATE - Mystery Smell

Ok, this is weird. The smell is gone. It was gone the next morning after that last post. I hope it's not just messing with me and we'll come down Christmas morning to be b-slapped with the mystery odor again . Can't take stinky-ness (which is probably causing at least a few of you who know Rusty to shake your heads in confusion.)

Speaking of "stinky" and "Rusty?" I went to one of his indoor games this evening. Walked into this very nice complex, opened the door to the smaller fields and oh my heck it smelled like dead feet. What is that? How can a smell fill an entire two-soccer-field sized area? Why would you not pad the walls with Odor Eaters or Febreeze the turf? Sprinkle some baking soda? Light a match for the love all that's good in the world?! Worse part of this story? I knew that smell. Rusty's car smells like that. Like an open Adidas soccer bag full to the brim with sweaty gear. His Civic smells like that, his last car smelled like that and the first car he had when I met him smelled like that (though he cleaned it up well when I first met him so the smell hit me sneak attack after I decided Rusty was kind of cute and had nice legs...Niiiiiiice, soccer player legs....)(Sorry.)

Ok, so point of this post: stinky smell in kitchen gone. Stinky smell at soccer plex conquering multiple playing fields. Rusty has nice legs.

The End.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Girly health.

(I mean, it won't be too graphic, but the "P" word will be thrown around a bit.)

Guess what?! We might know why I'm so chubby lately! No. I'm not pregnant. Actually, I couldn't be even if I wanted to be at the moment. Why? I have a medical condition! Woo hoo! So why am I happy? The chubby part? Remember? Keep up, please.

Ok. So it's no secret, especially to those of you who've known me for a while, that my currant weight and physical shape are not "normal" for me. For the most part, this chubby phase started in Maryland and it's been hard to deal with. When I was pregnant with the boys I gained a lot of weight. After I stopped nursing Sean I decided, "Hey, why not lose the weight?" and started Weight Watchers and was back to my normal size again in six months or so (started in late February of 2003 and was back in a size 8 by September.) It wasn't hard for me to do and I started running in the process and found I really enjoyed it.

Fast forward: 2004. I was gaining weight and not sure why. The running had stopped (the area where we lived wasn't ok for running after dusk) and I wasn't watching my diet as much but the weight I was gaining was way more than what could be explained away by those two factors. My doctor even got into the act and tested my thyroid and it was fine.

I started to get kind of depressed and Rusty and I couldn't understand why my body wasn't responding the way it had just a year earlier when I lost my pregnancy weight. I think I gave up. My weight didn't get any higher, thankfully, but trying to lose any significant amount just wouldn't happen. With the stress of renovating the Bowie house and Liam's testing, I just let my unhappiness fade into the background and stopped dressing and acting the way I would if my weight weren't an issue. I seemed to not want to have any attention from anyone (except Rusty.) This was the beginning of my "I hate my body but hate that it matters so much to me" phase.

So. Fast forward again. Spring 2006. My doctor orders my normal yearly check-up bloodwork for cholesterol, etc. The month before we find out we're moving my doctor's office calls and says my blood sugar is higher than normal but since we were moving, changing insurance, and starting with a new doctor it was decided I would be able to wait and start a plan of attack when we got to Ohio. In the meantime, I go from my normal 28-29 day menstrual cycle to having a psychotic period every few weeks with an extreme in the variation of how heavy or how light. And it never ever made sense. I made my yearly girly doctor appointment and went last Friday. I was dreading having to deal with a period problem and a blood sugar/pre-diabetes problem at the same time. How much crap could I take at one time? (How much crap could I remember at one time?)

I sat in that doctor's office and prayed that God would let this doctor know what was going on. She did. She listened to my symptoms and said, "You're not ovulating. Probably haven't since mid-June or so when this started. Here's the deal. Here's what you should tell your primary care physician. And by the way? The weight gain and high blood sugar? Is all part of this same issue. One neat little package to deal with instead of a 'female issue' with me and a diabetes issue with your other doctor." I? Almost lost it and cried right there. SO relieved. And so very excited to hear that the weight thing is not my fault and I didn't do anything wrong in my approach to trying to lose it.

She then went on to say that the little facial hairs that had popped up over the last few months? And the acne on my jawline? All due to this as well. It had never occurred to me that this was all part of the same thing. Again, so relieved. I have to take all this info to my primary care doctor (who has no clue that I even had a girly doctor visit and just thinks I'm coming in to talk about my high blood sugar, so hopefully he agrees with the gynocologist's diagnosis.) Girly doctor wrote down a list of blood tests she's suggest be done as well as a medication that should help. The medication, if he agrees and decides to prescribe it? Will cause a lot of these symptoms to disappear. Will cause this last month of doing Weight Watchers and running to actually be able to be effective and help me get back in shape. I just hope he sees the same things she does and we can get this figured out.

The diagnosis? Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Not life threatening. No reason to believe it's anything other than what it is - annoying, but treatable. And I'm so looking forward to getting back to normal. I don't mean to make this sound like it's "nothing" because I know a lot of women who have this have a lot more severe symptoms than I'm displaying and I know from experience that it's hard to deal with mentally as well as physically. It makes me feel ugly. But from my perspective, the diagnosis is a huge blessing because now I know what I'm fighting. And most of you who know me know I'm all about fighting and being beligerent. Bring it. I'm so ready to wear that cute black dress I've had hanging in my closet since I last wore it in 2004.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bad News.

Dude. We have a mystery smell going on. And it stinks.

I first smelled it earlier today and thought maybe something had been put down the disposer in the sink without turning it on. I turned on the hot water and ran it and cleaned out the sink but the smell is still around. And it's not really near the sink. We smelled it when we came in the garage door from our "Let's go pick up the van! Let's go drop off the van!" joy ride this evening. I smell it now and I'm sitting in the family room. I've checked the trash, the garage, the basement, the bathroom, the laundry...

What the crap fell over and died in here?!

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Caution: Talk of sick children. I can't be responsible for your delicate constitutions.

A few weeks ago Sean was sick. He threw up a few times but otherwise seemed like he had a horrible cold - high fever, congested, coughing. The throwing up was from being congested (it's a thing with him. Always has been.) It's only been about a week where he can sleep through the night without coughing himself, or us, awake.

Then last week, Liam got hit with this virus that is just flattening our whole area. Tuesday night Liam came in and woke me up with "I think I'm going to throw up." The throwing up finally stopped Thursday evening. To be followed a few hours later by constant running to the bathroom with diarrea. Liam is old enough to be embarrassed by the fact that it's been so bad that he's had accidents. And it's been three days now. He's on the mend, but we still can't go anywhere. He missed Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at school so I was hoping he'd be going back tomorrow. But seeing as how this virus laughs in the face of Imodium AD? I'm not sure that's happening.

So Liam's been sick. And Rusty and I have been thanking God that the Lysol I'm spraying everywhere and the wipes I'm using all over seem to have held the virus at bay because he and Sean and I have been ok. Until now. Half an hour or so ago? Sean fell apart. Starting the throwing up. I'm officially scared.

When I say this virus has been "flattening" our area? I mean it. You hear people say, "Oh, it's going around." But this is more than that. It's going around and hanging out a while. Our pastor was sick, we were told his kids had it earlier last week, my brother's family got hit and my 2 year old nephew had it so badly that he was down for a week - literally throwing up three or four times an hour the entire week. Poor child looks like a little starving orphan after the week his body's been through!

Why do I bother writing this? Because I'm hoping that if I disappear for a while that it's because the holiday frivolity is so much fun I can't be bothered to write and not because we're down with the virus of 2006.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Good job.

Hint that you may have found the right church: Hearing your husband call your pastor "Dude" while they talk on the phone.

Journey Church While "Pastor Tom" brings to mind an image of a 60 year-old guy in a tie? "Pastor Tom" is actually only a year older than Rusty and I. He occassionally wears flip flops. With socks. But still... I think they were Adidas so he gets style points.

And there's a good chance he may read this at some point.

(Hi, Pastor Tom.)

Monday, November 20, 2006


I will take my husband and move our family to Canada.

Rangel, a veteran of the Korean War who has unsuccessfully sponsored legislation on conscription in the past, said he will propose a measure early next year.

In 2003, he proposed a draft covering people age 18 to 26. This year, he offered a plan to mandate military service for men and women between age 18 and 42.

CNN Article - Bring Back the Draft

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Colin Love.

Sean is sick. High fever. Grossness. You know, the fun stuff. I spent yesterday watching movies with him draped across me most of the afternoon. Glad we picked up Cars and Over the Hedge on DVD last week; at least we something I hadn't seen fifty times (three or four, tops.)

Anyway, since we're kind of in "laid back mode" here and we haven't had any new episodes of Scrubs to keep us warm and happy lately, I've had to resort to reliving some favorites through YouTube. Add Colin Hay and you've got near perfection. Colin Hay is my go-to guy for easing up. Calming down. He's so subtly genius and I could listen to him for hours (sometimes I do.)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Monday. Again.

I'll admit, I wasn't quite sure how to follow up that post from last week. I wanted you to understand I absolutely and completely adore my kids and my husband but worried that wouldn't come through. I am highly amused and thoroughly touched by the love of my self-proclaimed "snarky" or "attitudey" friends who emailed me regarding this post to encourage me instead of posting here for fear of insulting anyone else. Since when did we get so considerate? I love you.

Ok, so as I just admitted, I pretty much basically ignored the blog on purpose this week. I had stuff to do anyway. Things like ripping this nonsense off the kitchen wall:

I apologize if you intentionally have this on your walls. It's just not my style. Or Rusty's. Or apparently my neighbor's down the street who had to strip the same exact wallpaper border in her kitchen.

Next? We painted. "Hat Box Brown" (see Family Room photo) and "Swiss Red." Oh yes. I did just say our kitchen is brown and red. The two shorter walls with cabinets are red. And they're lovely, thankyouverymuch (and it's not the red you see in that photo. That's an old picture. Stop looking at it already.) I'll take a few pictures of the kitchen paint after we get the kitchen put back together. I'm on the hunt for some kind of funky salvaged wooden signs (think old grocers or market signs or something -- something long and only about a foot high and very old and beat up.) Like it would surprise anyone here to find out I hang random crap in my house? Whatever.

Speaking of random crap, we hung an old mirror above the couch in the living room. I bought it at an auction a few months ago and it's cool. From what I found online, this is probably 80-100 years old. The glass is in pretty sad shape in some places but we decided it made it look funkier (can you believe Rusty went with that? I love Rusty.) We could get a new mirror cut for the frame but aren't really inclined to do so as of right now. We stood in front of it talking and wondering about how many people have looked in that mirror that now hangs on our living room wall and decided to keep it as is*. Plus, we screwed it into the wall using achors so we're also just kind of lazy.

Well, that's all the entertainment I can come up with for now. Stay tuned. You never know when we'll randomly do something to the house.

*So if you visit, don't ask why I didn't bother to clean the mirror. It's clean. It's just old.

Happy Monday.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Monday confession.

I've written and re-written this post three times now. I can't figure out how to say it and get my point across without sounding either stupid or ungrateful. Please keep in mind that I am neither (definitely not ungrateful; hopefully not stupid.) So here's the deal. We really like the church we've been going to over the last three weeks. We feel very welcomed and we plan on making it our permanent place of worship. We like the fact that small groups are a priority. So we've been looking forward to finding one and getting to know some people. We were given the name of a couple that are starting a small group based on a parenting book and we went to the first get-together last night. And this is where my confession comes in... I was dreading it. I told Rusty I didn't want to go but I sucked it up and we had a nice time. But I'm still not sure I can do this.

Here's the deal. If you've been reading for any length of time or if you're a friend from back on the east coast? Then you know that the last few years have been mainly about our kids. Specifically, about Liam. We moved to Ohio, to a better school district and great therapy, for Liam. We left a newly renovated house (in which we did all the work ourselves) and we left friends that we love dearly and miss beyond belief (some of which Rusty has known most of his life.) Primarily for Liam. Because we love him more than just about anything. And? We would gladly do it again. God is blessing us beyond belieft. And we are so grateful. I am so very grateful. And at the same time? I'm needing a break from living and thinking and breathing based on the question "what's best for Liam" in such a way that all else comes second. What Rusty and I were trying to do on our own for Liam is now being handled by many different people - his school has it under control, his therapist is on top of things and this area and neighborhood are great for him. Liam is in a good place. It's time for me to start thinking in other directions. I feel like I've been in mom mode for way too long without a decent break. Even before Liam's issues got as noticable and we started the assessment process? I had Angela to deal with (my niece.) And those of you who know Angela or know of Angela know that situation affected me emotionally in a way I hope I never have to deal with again. I felt responsible for her well-being and I felt guilty that I couldn't make things right for her. I'm still struggling with it. That's another post all together.

Back to the parenting thing. I have been trying to figure out what it is about the idea of starting in a parenting group that is bugging me so much. All I could come up with is this: our small group in Maryland was made of up parents and non-parents. And we talked quite a bit about our kids. But for the most part we all knew each other way before we were parents - college and even earlier in some cases. We had relationships that were good and fun and loving before the kids came along. So when the kids did come along? They weren't the only things we had in common. Or I should say, they weren't the thing that brought us together? I'm not sure (which is why I keep deleting and re-writing this post.) Being brought together by your kids isn't a bad thing. I adored Liam's first grade teacher. We got to be good friends. But? She and I spent time doing "non-mom/teacher" things.

Am I making sense? Good heavens. I really enjoyed the people we were with last night. The book sounds like something that will be good for us. But I need something for myself. A women's small group or an artist's small group or someone one-on-one to hang out with on a regular basis and connect spiritually as a friend instead of as a "mom." I miss "me." I didn't realize just how much until I started running again a few weeks ago and had forgotten how much I missed it. I thought to myself, "I love running. I forgot how much I really like running. How do you forget something like that? What else have I forgotten about myself?"

Something's got to give.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Maryland Remodel

I found a post I had written back in June but never posted. It included photos I had taken when we put the Bowie house on the market. I was going to delete them and then I realize that there are some friends who never saw the final remodel result. Betsy, I know you saw photos when we first painted the living room but otherwise you'd never been to our place (I'm a horrible friend. I'm really sorry!) Linda saw the place when the cabinets were in but the final version of the countertops weren't in. My family only knew the Bowie house as Rusty's mom's place, though my mom was there for a visit while we were taking down the wall. And now I have a friend that wants to see the photos for a project she's doing with her cabinets (the bathroom vanity is the same in both photos, I just restained it a much darker color and put on new hardware.) And for Laurie, with whom I've been discussing Ikea cabinetry and whether to wait for Ikea to set up shop in Cincinnati next year? The kitchen cabinets in the photos are the Ikea "STAT (White)" which is a farmhouse style doorfront. And since I raved about the organizational options with their cabinets I'm linking to a set I had put on Flickr a while back with some of those options. I typed out a good deal of what we talked about in the email but thought it may be able to visualize with the photos there for reference (I don't have a picture of the silverware drawer organizer which was one of my favorite details!) :

Click here to view the Ikea cabinetry detail pictures

Otherwise, here are the "Before & After" photos I never posted until now:

Monday, October 30, 2006

Letter from home

Dear Maryland (and Linda, Jenn, Jodi and anyone else who hasn't seen us in months),

Hi! How are you? I am fine (aside from a raging case of "I'm a dork".)

Last time we chatted, Maryland (and friends), you asked for photos. Ok, sure. Why not post photos. But only if you promise, Maryland (and again with the friends) that you will not mock me for my lack of ability to walk into a room without painting it (shut up) or drive by a garage sale, flea market or salvage store without buying something old (seriously, if you live in Cincinnati you have to go to Building Value in Walnut Hills - that place is overflowing with character and history and the people are really really nice. I promised them I'd be back... and that I'd bring friends.)

So here now are a few pictures of the house as it stands today...

Ok, photo#1. The dining room. There are a number of things you may be thinking upon viewing this photo. You may be saying to yourself, "That is one big, semi-stripped piece of furniture!" But? You'd be wrong. Because there are actually eight semi-stripped pieces of furniture in that room... I just chose to feature one for your viewing pleasure*. Another thing you may be noticing about that room? The lovely (not really) navy blue paint. We are not responsible for the paint. Now Maryland, you know that I am not afraid of color on the walls ("Your living room looks like a hobbit hole" ring a bell, anyone?) And I've actually seen navy blue on walls and it's beautiful. In fact, my brother and sister-in-law have an open kitchen/living room with vaulted ceilings and have navy on one wall and it looks spectacular with the other colors in the room and the trim. But this? This does not look spectacular. This looks dark and weird. Maybe because of the chair rail running through the middle of it? I don't know and don't particularly care. It's leaving sometime soon. Ummm, what else... ok, the light fixture. It's not "bad", it's just not our style. Coming down when we get to it. Probably sometime after the furniture gets refinished, the paint gets taken care of and I'm able to shower for more than two days in a row (you'd think showering is a priority but for some reason the house doesn't agree with that.)

Ok, let's move on, shall we?

Ah, yes. This, Maryland, is the living room. Or as I like to refer to it? The "let's-put-everything-we-can-possibly-fit-into-it-and-then-decide-to-paint" room. In my defense? This room is actually coming together (it's the one with the french doors that was in the first batch of house pictures we sent out.) I painted and got curtains hung and then decided to paint the bookcase (I don't want to hear it, thanks.) So nothing that went into the bookcase has been unpacked because the second coat of paint went on Friday. So to prove to you (and to encourage myself) that the living room is close to being unpacked and put together and finished, here is another photo of some detail of the paint color (Olympic Willow Tree, the same color we had in the living room in Bowie):

There are a few other random photos on the art blog too but since they're more "detail" and less "real life mess" I wasn't sure they reflect the true condition of our house at the moment. And you know I'm all about keeping it real.

Well, that's all for now. We miss you, Maryland (and friends). But we're settling in and I have the majority of a whole new house to work on. And you know me; I may complain about the messes but I really really like making them. We love you, and can't wait to see you soon (Linda, that is aimed directly at you, sister. I try to check the weekly airfare deals to Philly so you may need to find a babysitter!)

Goodbye and goodnight, Maryland (and friends),

Stacie a.k.a. "Super Dork"

*P.S. The large semi-stripped furniture in the dining room? We bought a dining room set at an auction last month. $150 for a table with leaves, six chairs and a buffet. The catch? They have layers of white, kind-of-white, and not-even-remotely-close-to-white paint on them. And on top of that? All of the detail work (spindles, etc.) have metallic gold paint. Niiiiice.

Friday, October 27, 2006


I swear I mean to take pictures. But the site of the post-semi-cross country move mess is making me want to throw up a little.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Our House Photos

So I didn't get a chance to go back to the house photos on Flickr until just now. And can I just tell you how much I adore my friends? Especially those who leave me such lovingly snarky remarks? Betsy and Jodi made my day. Seriously? Our house is not ginormous.

Ok, maybe it is. Especially to us after living in the Bowie shoebox.

We got a great deal on the house; God really blessed us. The couple moving out was being transferred to Virginia and the house had been on the market for a while. And? This house has some things wrong with it. To prove that statement, I will post photos of our mutant master bathroom (our home inspector said he was taking notes to put it in a book he's planning on the "weirdest things [he's] ever seen.") Woo hoo! Go us, with our funky weird bathroom. And the navy blue dining room (seriously.) And the drunken chef wallpaper border in the kitchen (which really contains 100% drunken chefs.) And the vintage dining room set I bought at an auction for cheap a few weeks ago and thought "Hey! I'll just refinish it!" because, you know, I have absolutely nothing else to do with my time. And to clarify? The navy dining room and the drunken chefs were here when we bought the place.

In all honestly, I really meant it when I said God blessed us with this house. We got here at the right time. I'm going to try to take photos of the chaos around here. You know... to keep it real and all. The last photos? Not so "real." Look closely at the only interior photo and you'll see that it's a shot of the upper half of the wall. Cropping out the floor. Because? The floor is full o' junk. You may have also noticed I was all "See the pretty outside of our house? So pretty." But didn't really show much of the inside. On purpose.

I promise to take some realistic photos of the inside of the house at this stage of unpackedness if you promise to not recoil in fear. And remember how nice and neat (and slightly anal) I usually am about my house. Deal? Deal. Ok, then. More photos to come soon...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Our house

Yes, we moved. No, we're nowhere close to being unpacked. But if you click here you can see a few more photos of the house so far.

I promise to update soon...

P.S. If this blog looks like one giant link to you? I have no clue why. I'm now using a Mac and it's happening. But it never happened on the PC. Someone help?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

World Refugee Day - No end in sight for Africa's suffering masses - Jun 20, 2006 -- I feel like we need to keep talking about this stuff because it's much bigger than rising gas prices and who we're most likely to vote for in 2008. This article is really good, completely heartfelt by a man who's been traveling and reporting from Africa for a long time. Everything inside me revolts at the thought of things he's describing as normal life for many people in Africa. I don't understand Africa. I know there is a long and complicated history. I know it's so overwhelming for me to think about. So I ended up praying for one person instead. I don't know that one person -- it may be a child, a woman, a man or even one of the people causing the problem. I don't know them. I can't know them! My life is way too different in so many ways to be able to think of specific ways to pray for them. So I don't. Instead I pray for any one person at any one time to feel God with them and to somehow make it through not only physically but mentally and spiritually as well. If they have to live in a refugee camp for their own protection, let them feel love from somewhere, let them feel worthy of living and human again.

I have to admit that initially my impressions of Angelina Jolie were negative. She's reported to be really "weird." But honestly? I don't really care anymore. She's famous and uses that fame to bring attention to people who would otherwise go unnoticed. No matter how much I do or don't like her? I can't deny that she is able to do something that a lot of other, lesser known people can do. She also seems to actually live out her words by giving 1/3 of her income to charities for refugees. 1/3 of her income is a lot. A lot. That's a lot of money to part with. And I'll happily say that I'm happy that she does it. Her personal life doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. I don't know her personally and will never get 100% of the truth about her life and I don't care. The person who may be able to live a few more days because of money that made it to them through a donation she made? Probable doesn't care what the crap she does with her spare time. So I say, "Yay, Angelina Jolie. You may be overexposed and kind of creepy yet strangely beautiful but at least you're aware of a problem that you are uniquely qualified, by your over-inflated income, to contribute in a way that most of the world cannot. Keep it up."

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Liam after the game.

Liam. Running the bases at Great American Ballpark after the Cincinnati Reds played the Diamondbacks last Sunday. After the game, fans were allowed to run the bases. The line? Was huge. Adults, little guys, teenagers, girls, boys... pretty much a mix of anyone who ever wanted to pretend they made the big time (except me, because I had to get this on film.) Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Summing me up, spiritually.

Ok, so I've been told that I may be "too liberal" to be a Christian (don't worry, Jodi. Not originally by you. Someone else sparked my comment to you.) I started thinking about it because it took me by surprise a little bit. I don't consider myself liberal. I think abortion is a terrible thing, for both the mothers and babies. I believe that according to the bible, homosexuality it wrong. I believe we should obey the laws of our country unless they contradict God's laws directly (you know, in like a "if-another-Hitler-should-come-along" kind of way. Not a "screw-the-whole-government-I'm-joining-a-militia-group" kind of way.) But having said all of that? Who cares what I believe? It's not for me to judge, it's for God. It's my duty, as a Christian trying to follow Jesus' example in the bible, to love people. Regardless of whether they're "wrong" or not. God will deal with the judgment part. He said so. He did not say "please go and alienate people by treating them like crap in my name."

I kind of feel like I need to clarify some of my reasoning for the things I say. So you know, I don't rant to be cool or politically correct or whatever. Hearing people being so mean about the whole immigration thing right now? Hard to take. Why do I care? Because the angry talk about immigration just breeds more anger. And that anger has some people treating Spanish speaking people like crap, regardless of their legality. And? Because my brother-in-law is originally from El Salvador. He's "legal", he has a job, a social security number, pays taxes and owns property. He speaks English but has an accent. Some people don't seem to realize that not every Spanish speaking person is Mexican. There is no way to tell if someone is illegal by listening to them talk or by how they look. I don't think the borders should just be open to everyone. I never said I did and that's just a dumb idea. And I understand that illegal immigration has stretched a lot of the U.S.'s resources too thin and controlling immigration is an important thing. But I'm not talking about the laws and the structure of the country and such, because they are laws and things we can't immediately change. We aren't the police or INS and we don't personally deal with the law on a day to day basis. But we do come face to face with some of these people every day and it's our choice to either love them in Christ or treat them badly because there's a chance they may be illegal (because they speak Spanish!) and therefore done something wrong. I don't think we should treat anyone badly because they've done something wrong. Because I've done something wrong. Lots of times. And where in the bible does it say, "treat thine brother like crap because they have sinneth against me?"

I don't want anyone to think I'm a raving loon. I wasn't really that into politics or issues or anything before. I'm really still not "into" politics. But I'm more aware that the world I thought was pretty ok? Really isn't. My sister, whose husband is black? Has had someone tell her that her daughter is "too dark" to be hers and harassed her to the point of tears. And her daughter is only six months old. How much more crap will she have to hear? Why is it considered liberal to stand up for someone's feelings?

One of my closest friends died of AIDS two years after I moved here. I knew him for ten years, he went with me and helped me buy my first car, met and decided Rusty was good enough for me, and was a really, really great guy. But he never told me he was gay or when he got sick because he knew I'm a Christian and was afraid I "wouldn't love him anymore" (hearing someone tell me he said that nearly broke my heart because this guy was like my brother.) I found all of this out two years after he died. He apparently went to very great lengths to hide it from me since I met him when I was in high school, I worked with him, I hung out with him all the time. Do you have any idea how convicting that is, to know someone hide something like that - something so painful and life altering - because they were afraid you wouldn't love them anymore? It made me reevaluate my faith and why I bother having it if it's going to make "less-than-perfect" people worry that I'll love them less. Being a Christian should make people realize you'll love them MORE. So, even though I have personal convictions on being gay? Who am I to withhold the love of God from someone based on what I believe?

But if we are the Body
Why aren't His arms reaching
Why aren't His hands healing
Why aren't His words teaching
And if we are the Body
Why aren't His feet going
Why is His love not showing them there is a way
Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come ...

I'm not doing my own interpretation of the bible. I'm trying to live what I've been taught and what every Christian song and book and slogan claims to promote. This isn't supposed to be a lecture or rant. It's more just "clearing the air" so you understand that the things I say are for a personal reason and not just to stay on the "cool", PC side. Why does it matter? Because I'm tired of Christians getting a bad rap. Actually, I'm tired of God getting a bad rap. Not like my opinion is so earth shattering, but it's one more thing out there counter-acting all the crappy stuff.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Friday Update.

Ok, so it's come to my attention (thanks, Jodi) that I have been neglecting this blog. In my defense, I have been writing on another faith and art related blog (, putting up the crown molding in the kitchen (up but needs another coat of paint), painting shutters (would be done if it would stop raining, thanks), re-painting the kitchen (ok, so that's actually happening as soon as I finish with this), cutting down all of the shrubs in the front of the house (oh yes I did) and working on some web graphics, an article, and digital scrapping items for . Oh, yeah. And baseball started. Hard.
Liam has been waiting to play baseball since... well, ok, for pretty much from the time he first threw a ball and realized it was a game. He adores baseball. He plays Backyard Baseball on the computer, plays imaginary baseball at the grocery store or waiting for me to pick him up at school or in the bathroom when he's supposed to brushing his teeth (though the teeth brushing is just as often interupted by Kung Foo. But that's a different post.)

When I say baseball started "hard"? I mean that once it started it has been an almost full-time thing for us. He has practice twice a week and two games a week - one on either Tuesday or Wednesday evenings and one on Saturday mornings. Anyway, Rusty is one of the coach's helpers so we're pretty much living our lives according to baseball right now. It's not hard core competitive or anything. It's coach-pitch and the only reason they have so many games is because they have so many teams. Apparently baseball is one of the most popular boys' sports around (this is the first year the teams aren't co-ed. The girls now play softball.)

So, am I surprised by Liam's baseball obsession? No. Seriously, have you ever met my brother? Did you ever meet my Grandpa Joe (you'd totally remember if you did; every other word was "Dammit, Grandma!" or "Horseshit" or "insert-your-own-spicy-sentence-enhancer here.") My family has always been enamored of baseball. Grandpa played semi-pro and his brother played major league in the AA division so they knew the game inside and out. Their sister, my Great-Aunt Dixie, was a "Rosie Red" and a long-time season ticket holder which is why my family ended up going to so many Cincinnati Reds games when I was growing up.

Growing up. Specifically, growing up in Cincinnati in the late 70's. I was born in 1972 and I knew all the names of the Reds starting line-up when I was four years old (Yes. I'm serious. I also had a pair of Cincinnati Reds Keds sneakers when I was four and apparently never wanted to take them off. Because, dude. They made me run so fast.) Anyway, it wasn't because anyone drilled the starting line-up into my head. I don't really remembering trying to know their names. It was because the Reds dominated the National League in the 70's and every kid in Cincinnati knew the Big Red Machine. If it was between April and September? Marty and Joe were just about the only thing on the radio at my Grandparents house (Grandpa used to watch the game on TV with the sound down and listen to Marty and Joe call the game on 700 WLW.) Hearing "Johny Bench, Tony Perez, Davey Concepcion, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, George Foster, Ken Griffey, Cesar Geronimo..." over and over must have sunk in sub-consciously .

So Liam? Never had a chance. His Uncle Jason is a die-hard Reds fan (every year he so genuinely believes "this could be the Reds year") Ok, totally off the subject... sort of, I mean it's baseball but it's random. In 1988, Cincinnati hosted the All-Star game. It was really hard to get tickets so we were out of luck. My brother was thirteen. We went down to the plaza level outside the stadium to hear my cousin's school band play for one of the events an hour or so before the game started and my brother was just dying to get in and see the game. He started praying. Out of the blue, a total stranger walked up to my brother and said he had two extra tickets and did he want them? True story, I was there. I can't remember if Jason had to pay for them or if they were free. Crazy.
Anyway, baseball has been welcomed into our home this spring as Liam plays his first season of real, no "T" involved, baseball. It's nowhere near "serious" but just competitive enough that it holds the kids' attention (well... most of them.) It's fun to watch a group of seven year old boys pretend they're big leaguers. And Liam is totally loving it.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Still disgusted.

Ok. I know already that some of you will not believe me. You will think I'm making this up. But I saw it with my own eyes (unfortunately.) It's five days later and I still cannot stop being grossed out.

Scene: Family room. Monday night. CSI:Miami on DVR (which was amazingly cheesy this week with all the heavy dramatic music that cued the uncomfortable emotional conversations that stopped suddenly and turned back into "do you have that bullet fragment for me?"... the hell?)

Me: Rusty, there's something on the floor. Kill it please.

Rusty: Ok... EW! It's nasty looking!

Me: Kill it. Please.

Rusty: It's all big and looks like it could jump up my leg and get me.

Me: Kill. It.

Rusty: Ugh, that's gross.

Me: For the love of Horatio will you just kill it already? (ok, I just thought up that last part. But it sounded like it fit the scene so it's staying.)

Rusty steps on the spider and lifts his shoe to see? A big squished spider. And 5 or 6 tiny spiders running around. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit typing that last line. If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't believe it. But just by appearances? The big spider was pregnant and Rusty "induced labor" by killing it. Oh holy hell. Now I'm full blown nauseous thinking about it.

P.S. He got rid of the little spiders to. And no, we're not "spider-mover-outsiders." We are "yell-for-Rusty-and-Rusty-smushes" kind of people.

Edited to add: The big one may not have been pregnant. Apparently some spiders carry babies on their rear ends. Good times. Either way, I'm sick.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Blankets for Perry.

So, do you have kids? A baby, or expecting one? Ever go on picnics or to the beach or to baseball/softball/soccer/t-ball practice and need a nice dry place to sit? Do road trips with the kids? Well, why don't you hike it on over to the Blankets for Perry blog and order yourself, or someone you love, one of their super adorble, amazingly simple yet marvelously practical blankets hand sewn by Perry's Grandma ("Geegaw".)

Blankets for Perry was set up by my friend, Jodi, for her son Perry. This is Perry (to the left, with Jodi.) Perry is in the second grade this year and is dealing with some language based learning disabilities as well as ADD. He's been on medication for about a year now and it's not helping his issues overall. He has been evaluated at Children's Hospital in Cincinnati and was referred to The Springer School in Cincinnati.

In Jodi's own words:

"So being the keen investigator I am, I investigated, only to find the perfect learning enviroment for my child in my very own city. A special school for kids with learning disabilities. Problem was the cost......completely comparable to that of a college tuition. So I applied for financial aid at the school, and was awarded a good amount but not enough to get the tuition to fit into my budget. So as God would have it I began finding other means, considering my husband was completely stressed about the cost. Oh yee of little faith! If it's God plan it'll happen, that's just who I am, and so it is. Blanket selling seems to be quite successful, and will get me where I need to be, I am completely confident in that. Thanks to my multitalented sewing maniac mother. If you recieve a blanket and the stitches are slightly off, that's because we have lots of orders and I had to chip in." That pretty much sums it up.

Blanket stats (copied directly from Jodi's site):

54" x 44"
Great for babies, kids and adults
Awesome for summer camp, nursing homes, sporting events and traveling.
One side is flannel other side is cotton
sewn with great love by Geegaw

The site is called "Blankets for Perry" and you can get there by clicking here, on the any of the links in this post or by typing in and going to:

Jodi is willing to take requests if the fabric is available and is also selling premade blankets on Ebay under the username: Yoda0419

Please consider passing this along to anyone you know who would be interested. And order yourself or someone you love a Blanket for Perry.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Liam on film.

Things to notice in this picture:

1. He is not blindingly white. El muchacho blanco has finally obtained some color.

2. I'm pretty sure I gave my mom that same exact look for at least eight or nine years of my life. Starting when I was ten years old or so. Possibly earlier. Probably earlier.

3. My "Valentine's/Mother's Day/Anniversary Gift" takes blindingly beautiful photos, does it not?

4. Liam is growing up fast.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sunday confession.

Once again, it's time for me to confess something I would otherwise keep to myself (fear not, there are no badly made 80's movies involved in this one.)

Ok, my confession is? I like some of those cheesy songs I claim to not like. You know, the ones that sound like they were written for the soul purpose of making you get sniffy? For instance? That Lee Ann Womack song, I Hope You Dance. I don't really like much about the actual song. I'm not big on Lee Ann Womack's voice and singing style. Sorry, just the way it is. Nothing personal. And this song has been over-used, over-played and just generally overdone. There are bookmarks, t-shirts and inspirational books. The lyrics to this song are put on at least 1/3 of the little girl themed scrapbook pages I've seen in my life (and believe me, I've seen a lot of scrapbook pages.)

You might be thinking, "So what? What does it matter if it's been overdone?" Well... you'd be right, actually. Even though every cell in the creative side of my brain revolts against the idea of using something so hideously overdone to create something? I can't help it. The song be damned. It's the words that I keep coming back to.

If you, like me, are just sick to death of the song itself? You'll have a hard time reading the word "Dance" without hearing it sung to you, in your mind, like this: "Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaance." This is just the way it is. If you have any interest in investigating the lyrics, you'll have to make a conscious effort to ignore the music. Just focus on the words. There are quite a few things expressed in this song that I honestly do feel for my own kids. I do hope they always feel very small when they stand on the beach in Ocean City, just down from the amusement part where we always seem to set up the umbrella and lay out the towels. I want them to feel small when they look out at the Atlantic Ocean and realize that's it. That water goes on and on and on. There are living things there, people farther out that we can't see traveling to other places on large ships on that same water. That ocean front spans from Maine to Florida. The beaches may be different - rocky, sandy, private, public, whatever. But it's still the same gigantic ocean. I want them to understand that they are not the biggest most powerful things in the world and be awed by it. I want them to know there are things on this earth that they cannot control. Should not control.

Even the line, "I hope you dance", with all it's overdone-ness, is legitimate to me. My kids? They dance. When something comes on that moves them? They shake booty. Seriously. Liam seems to be moved by old school rap at the moment. Run DMC makes him shake it. Beastie Boys? Ha ha ha ha. Seriously, good stuff. Now That We Found Love by Heavy D? Gets his whole body going. Sean, on the other hand, has three favorite specific songs that he asks for over and over... and over... again. Catchafire by Tobymac, Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones and I'm Different by Butterfly Boucher. Something about these songs ignites something in the boys that allows them to let loose and let their bodies do what their words cannot. They dance like they are insane. And it is wonderful to see. Think about it. How many people have you heard utter the words, "I can't dance"? There are people who will not dance, at all, for fear of looking stupid. And you know those people were once kids and probably dance their little tushies off when something moved them to it. But somewhere along the way they adopted the idea that they weren't good enough or it wasn't diginified or it was just plain wrong. Whether it was something someone said to them, something that was somehow implied, or even something they were taught by someone in authority (whether that authority be real or merely imagined.) These people would rather sit down and be still than get up and move to something that moves them. Or maybe they wouldn't "rather", maybe they're too embarrassed. That makes me a little sad. They're embarrassed that something they feel would make them look stupid. I never want my kids to lose that face they make when they love the music they're listening to. The way they crack themselves and enjoy however their little bodies respond to the music.

I'm going to pause here to mention someone who has not lost their will to dance and be silly: my husband. The man will cut a rug to the BeeGee's like nobody's business. He does more disco moves than I ever thought possible (Scary side note? He learned a good deal of those disco moves at YoungLife camps, weekends and club programs. Thanks, YL!) Maybe it's because my husband is not old enough to have experienced the horrors of disco firsthand? I don't know. But he thinks it's fun and funny and does it. You go, Rusty, with your The Sprinkler, Dealing the Cards and funny arm wiggly wave move.

Anyway, ok. This song. I like it. Or at least, I like the lyrics. And I'm guessing I like the lyrics for the same reason this song was overdone to the extreme. Something about the words struck a cord in a lot of people. Things you may have forgotten feeling are remembered - whether it's your own experiences or someone else's that you relate the words to. Your children, your childhood friends, your siblings or even yourself. And so, whether I like the singer or the style? I still have to concede that it's a good song for me to think about. Because in its own way it makes you think and feel something that takes you to someplace you can't return to. And it makes me realize that as a mature (ha), responsible (ha HA) adult I have to consciously remember to make some of these choices or I will fall in the "mature, responsible" adult trap of not really seeing the Atlantic in front of me when I'm hauling a tote bag and towels onto the beach or not wanting to dance for fear of looking like an idiot. If you don't agree with me, that's cool. No problem.

I'm sure there are a few other songs out there that share the same qualities and my same dislike. I'll have to examine more closely why it is that I don't like them. Though I can tell you now, no amount of reconsideration is going to make me like, or even tolerate, that "Shoes for my Dying Mom Christmas Nonsense" song. Because, come on.

P.S. We won't discuss my opinion of "Butterfly Kisses". I don't have daughters so maybe I'm missing something because I think that song sucks. Hard.

Monday, May 01, 2006

He's a big kid now.

It's official. Liam is old. He's joined the ranks of the "big kids" and learned to ride a bike. We bought his new bike two weeks ago on a very rainy Friday. He insisted on learning to ride as soon as he got home from school. The lessons started with me but Rusty took over when he got home from work so I could take pictures. Which is good. Because? My arms were about to fall off from holding on to the bike seat holding Liam up. I swear, for me, trying to teach someone to ride a bike was harder than potty training. Seriously, trying to explain and put in words the actual movements you need to execute to maintain your balance and ride a bike? It's lunacy. You sound like a nut.

Anyway, by the next day Liam had learned not only to ride but to also get himself on and off the bike on his own, get himself going and turning without totally wiping out. Mostly. He was soaking wet and loved every minute of it.

This? Is a totally fun part of having kids. Posted by Picasa

Our lives without an immigrant? Would really suck.

In the languages of those who mean so much to my family and I. For my my Great, Great-Grandparents on both sides, my Uncles Carmine and Emilio and their families, and my brother-in-law Joel and his family.

Reizende Dame Liberty
With ihr Buch von Rezepten
und von feinsten, die sie hat,
ist der große amerikanische schmelzende Topf
der große Anerican schmelzende Topf.

Welche gute Bestandteile, Freiheit und Immigranten.

La signora bella la Liberty
With il suo libro delle ricette
e di quella che più fine abbia
è il POT di fusione americano grande
il POT di fusione grande di Anerican.

Señora encantadora Liberty
With su libro de recetas
y la más fina que ella tiene
es el gran pote que derrite americano
el gran pote que derrite de Anerican.

Qué buenos ingredientes, libertad e inmigrantes.

Lovely Lady Liberty
With her book of recipes
And the finest one she's got
Is the great American melting pot
The great American melting pot.


Schoolhouse Rock. So simple, yet so profound, no?

**EDITED: (como meu amigo maravilhoso Linda que faz a minha vida muito mais divertimento desde que nós nos encontramos com!)

A senhora encantadora Liberdade
Com seu livro das receitas
e da que a mais fina tem
é o potenciômetro de derretimento americano grande
o potenciômetro de derretimento americano grande.

(I tried for the Chinese but just got a bunch of little squares and question marks as the result.)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Perfect timing.

Thank you, Betsy. This made me laugh out loud (of course, Liam now wants me to have four babies so they can sit around and laugh.)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

On a happier note.

This is Sean. And this is what Sean drew on the driveway the other day. In case you can't quite make it out, it says "Sean loves Mommy" (a super cute little heart = "loves.")

Sean did this on his own. He wrote it on his own, spelled it all on his own, and thought of it on his own.

In case you didn't catch my last post, Sean is driving me crazy with his four-year-oldness. But he also makes me smile. A lot.
 Posted by Picasa


Yes. That is my basic feeling right now. Actually, it's an edited version of my basic feeling. A memory I have of my Grandpa Joe's voice yelling "Horseshit!" (usually came out sounding like one word.) I'm going to warn you right now, this is not a perky post. It is a slightly depressed, irritated, tired and unsure post.

We have been back from Cincinnati now for almost two weeks. Good visit, more on that when I'm a little more upbeat and I can do it the justice it deserves. With pictures, even.

So this is my list of irritations: Sean is acting very "four years old" lately and it's driving me out of my mind. Rusty has interviewed with three different companies now and we're waiting to hear if and when we'll be moving. I? Am fat. Or I feel fat, anyway. I miss running. Which is very lame on my part. Because? We have a ginormous treadmill in our family room. Smack in front of the TV. But is my lumpy butt on it? Oh, noooooo. Of course not. Of course, if I sit here long enough I can think of every single thing that's bugging me -- the chainsaw won't work long enough to cut down the bottom half of the bush out front, the kitchen still isn't finished and I have drywall dust in my hair, I want a damn basement already... blah blah blah blah blah...

Then I go and read this and remember that I am so blessed beyond belief compared to most people on earth. Just being born in the U.S. is a major thing. Liam can walk into school not having to worry that guerilla fighters will kidnap him to fight as a child soldier. My home, the one I so endlessly complain about - complain about renovations, no less - is save from soldiers, insurgents, militia, armed gunmen and kidnappers. My biggest worry at night is whether the boys will stay asleep so I can get some sleep, not whether I'll wake up to find them missing having been kidnapped. Or wake up to find them returning from their night in a shelter as the only way of keeping them from being kidnapped.

I know, this post is getting so very depressing. And you know the worst part of it? I don't have to make that terrible stuff up! It's happening, every day, to millions of people. We're caught up in the war in Iraq (and I'm not condoning or condemning that) that there is even more tragedy taking place and it's getting missed by many of us. Africa -- Aids, genocide, rape, kidnapping. Men, women and children are being wiped out. It sounds so cliche, and old news. Because, really, isn't there always some country in trouble or some people dying or children starving? We're so used to it that we don't even hear it or see it anymore. And sometimes it's not even reported on as much any more.

I stumbled onto a site called and found a place to send a postcard to President Bush asking him to make good on his promise to not let the genocide continue (which I applaud the president for caring and hope he acts on it.) I clicked on a photo one another site and was shocked to see photos from a relief organization that showed people -- including a young child -- that were murdered in their homes. I've never seen a photo of a murdered child. I'm still crying, actually (if you don't believe me, click here and see if you can stand to not do something . Be warned, these are tough to see.)

So. What to do. At first, I was going to send out a mass email to everyone I knew. Then I remembered what I do with 90% of the emails I get where the subject line leads me to believe it's a "Forward." I'm not sure I even understand the scope of this enough to make someone else understand, and I'm so thankful for the fact that my life has been blessed enough to not be able to wrap my brain around it really. It might sound over-dramatic, but the reality is that the genocide in Darfur is up there with the Holocaust. And how many of us that didn't live at the time have ever wondered, "How did people not know? How could they not do something?!" We've seen clips of Hotel Rwanda and felt our brief moments of horror and sympathy. Then we often go back to complaining about our kitchens. Or our jobs. Or whatever.

**I'm not in any way saying that we have to right to our feelings about things. I, myself, am borderline depressed by the overwhelming feelings of "what next?" and "what if" and how the hell am I supposed to be a responsible adult and prepare for the future when I don't know what the crap the future is going to be?!**

Anyway, here are some links. Please check them out. Take a few seconds to fill out the electronic postcard (it's not some long form and it only takes a few seconds, seriously.) Read up on this. It's going on. And as fellow humans, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children... those people deserve the same respect, safety and right to life as we and our families and friends do. This isn't a "Democratic" or "Liberal" or "Religious" thing. It's actually the first time in a while I've heard of something that support from so many differing points of view (the One Campaign is another -- sort of related, see the link over to the right there.) Please just do this.

Click this link for a history of what's going on and why

SaveDarfur is also calling on churches and Faith Communities to pray for the region: Click here for info

Darfur: A Genocide We Can Stop (this page has a graphic photo on it, be prepared)

Seriously, I know this is depressing stuff. It'll be hard to take, but "not knowing" or ignoring it won't make it go away. But if enough of us face it, hopefully it will go away.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Yoda Rules.

I'm sure you will enjoy this, Jodi (if you haven't already seen it, of course)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Road Trip.

Oh yeah. Eight (or nine... or more) hours in the van with Rusty and boys. We're going to Cincinnati tomorrow. Liam is off school for a long weekend for some sort of teacher's planning day thing. The weather is supposed to be great this weekend and the drive isn't actually that bad when it's pretty outside. We drive through the mountains in western Maryland and West Virginia (you GO, West Virginia, with your 70 MPH speed limit!)

In less than 24 hours we will be sighing with relief as we finally hit I-71, watching the boys in the rearview mirror as they try to get a glimpse of Kings Island on the way by, most likely having dinner with my mom, my sister and my brother-in-law like we do every time we're able to come in to town on a Thursday, and playing phone tag with family to coordinate time together while we're in town.

Saturday morning, I will be eating breakfast with my best friend, Amy, whom I've known for 18 years now. I will be mocking my brother, my husband, and other friends (most of whom my brother and I have known since high school) while they get ready for their yearly fantasy baseball draft (the reason we're going to Cincinnati this weekend. Yes, I'm totally serious.) But though I mock? I love the fact that my husband and my brother are so close that Rusty has been allowed to become a part of something like that. It seems small, but it's one of those things that's just continued and there's some sort of comfort in the familiarity of it. I adore my brother and his blind love of all things baseball, no matter which player happens to be accused of what. And I love that every year "could be the Red's year."

I'm so excited that this weekend I will get to snuggle my baby nieces, listen to my nephew shriek with laughter as Liam and Sean chase him around yelling, "Jakey! Jakey!" I will get to ask my mom for her help with an art project and listen to my dad and Rusty talk sports while chilling in front of the TV in the family room.

I'm really excited to be going home.

Happiness is...

...seeing your seven year-old bust a move when he doesn't know you're watching.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Immigration, anyone?

Ok. So living in the Washington D.C. area you get a little tired of the politics. I'll admit that a good portion of the stupidity goes right over my head. But this immigration thing is killing me. I heard the very stupidest conversation ever this morning and I wanted to just stop this person and ask if they had any clue what the crap they were talking about. Let's get this out in the open now, everyone. I am not for this immigration thing becoming a bill and then a law. That may irritate those of you in the "Learn English or go home" camp, but why don't you clam up and let me explain my problem with this.

My problem? The whole "let's make it a felony to immigrate illegally, to hire illegal workers and to aide illegal immigrants." Why does that bother me? Am I all for opening the borders an letting in every unchecked person - including terrorists and maniacs - into the the U.S.? No. Don't be stupid. There are all kinds of ideas up for how to legalize the people already here and holding jobs, providing valuable services and actually being useful. Again, my problem is with this attitude:

Tancredo said enforcing existing laws would discourage illegal immigration because employers would be unable to hire undocumented workers.

"If you actually began to enforce that, then you would see that millions of people will return home to their countries of origin voluntarily because, frankly, there's nothing else to do," he said. - Rep. Tom Tancredo, a Colorado Republican on

That? Is just a dumb statement. Like anyonewho has risked their life and spent great deals of money to get here is going to just pull up stakes and decide to head home. But even that isn't the basic problem I have with what's at stake. My problem, again, is with making it illegal to not only come into the country illegally but to hire illegal workers and to aide illegal immigrants. So why is this bugging me so much? "Aide" includes pastors, churches and even medical personnel. Doctors. Teachers. Programs like Mercyworks and Su Casa in Cincinnati. Do they screen those they currently minister to? I don't know. Maybe they do and this is irrelevant. But if they don't? I don't want them to have to. I read a quote by someone at a protest that said God is not an "American God." I know that irritated some people. But for some of the people this law would affect, that statement means everything to them and their ministry. Does a service like Mercyworks turn away an immigrant family in need? Does a Hispanic church screen people walking in the door before they start the service? Does a doctor refuse to treat a patient -- a critical injury, cancer, some easily curable sickness that can lead to death if not treated -- just because that patient isn't legal? Yes, those are tough situations and hard to say one way or the other. And for many of us comfortable American citizens it's easier to just not think about it because it's not "us." But for anyone with any kind of faith or belief in God, it comes down to this: I don't believe God would be happy with people not being cared for or ministered to because they aren't "legal." God says "whatever you do unto the least of these"... I don't think "check their credentials first" was part of that. I'm just sayin'.

If you don't believe my problem is a widespread one? Read on:

Dozens of members of the clergy planned to wear handcuffs to protest what they said is the House bill's criminalization of their aid programs for poor immigrants.

Go, Clergy.

To end this post, I ask a favor. If you don't know any immigrants, particularly those from Central and South America? Go find one. Talk to them. Make eye contact and smile when they're bussing your table or holding the "Stop/Slow" sign at the road construction site down the street. If you get a chance, ask them about their homeland and what they had to go through to get here. There's a good chance you'll be astounded that anyone would be so desperate that they would give up everything familiar to them to risk everything they have, including their life, to get here. We tend to forget how blessed we are and sometimes it takes a face-to-face reminder. We don't have to decide if we will flee to the U.S. to request political asylum or to make enough money to send back to our family at home so they can survive.

Ok. That's my rant for the day. I'm not saying just let anyone in and who gives a crap. I am saying I don't want anyone telling us that reaching out to someone in need is a crime if they're the "wrong" someone. I haven't been going around ranting about this all week. This is strictly after having been stirred up by the stupid person this morning.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Quote of the week

I've been re-doing the boys' bathroom. Again. Has something to do with the old medicine cabinet and hanging light bulbs and not being able to close the cabinet doors. Anyway... I had to take down the medicine cabinet. The lights were attached to the top of the medicine cabinet. Because? It was ugly like that. So, I got the new light fixture put up (that's another story altogether. Because? The person who built this house was apparently a meth addict.) But I didn't get the mirror put up yet. I asked the boys if they'd be ok brushing their teeth without the mirror for one night. Liam looks at me like I'm stupid and goes, "Yeah. I know where my teeth are." Scary that Sean said he couldn't brush without the mirror.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Shame. It can be a good thing.

Ok. I'm going to ask a question that may make you uncomfortable. It may make you want to hide your face and wish you'd never come here. But this is for your own good. So buck up and answer me when I ask, "How many of you have intentionally watched Red Dawn?" (and by "intentionally", I mean "without a gun held to your head" or "not under the influence of alcohol or powerful sedatives.")

I'm asking because... ok, I can do this... My name is Stacie. And I watched Red Dawn. Or at least part of it with Rusty the other night. Only part of it, dammit. Don't you judge me! Between the Swayze-ness, the Sheen factor and the C.Thomas Howell of it all? My brain revolted and threatened to physically leave my body if I did not refrain from watching immediately. It's just bad, bad 1980's movie making. Baaaad. Really bad. It took nearly two days to stop mentally yelling "Wolverines!", and that? Is just wrong, people.

I'll be honest and say that I didn't see this movie when it came out (I was like 10. My parents probably didn't see any redemptive value to having their elementary school aged child watch a badly made movie about the Cubans and Russians invading mid-America. Good job, Mom and Dad. Seriously.) Maybe this movie, like Aqua Net and George Michael, didn't seem so terrible when placed against the backdrop of mid-1980's American culture. But Aqua Net turned out to be bad for the ozone layer. And so did George Michael, for that matter. So "It was the 80's" is no excuse. That movie should not be in rotation on the modern day cable networks. It should be allowed to slip silently into the same drawer with our pegged jeans and doubled up florescent socks and left to die.

Please, I beg of you. Stop the Swayze-ness.

That's funny.

Want to see something funny? Click here. They seem to think I'm a totally mature and capable adult (shut up. Do not tell them what you know. I will pay you.) Besides, it's only a matter of time before they find out for themselves...

Friday, March 17, 2006

Podcast Bandwagon (jumping on way late)

Ok. So Jodi is the Podcast queen. I? Am so not. I have listened to a few random downloads but hadn't actually subscribed to anything. Until today. I downloaded Mosaic based on Jodi's rave reviews and hope to listen to it sometime this weekend. Then I decided to check and see if the Vineyard has a podcast because I would subscribe to Dave Workman and friends in a heartbeat (no such luck. Get on the ball, Vineyard!) So then I wandered aimlessly around Google checking for buzz on anything else I may want to subscribe to. I found a site called Bored-Again Christian. Then I realized it was a Christian music site, but not necessarily your average Christian music -- no Amy Grant or Michael W. Smith going on here. Thank goodness! (Sorry, Jodi. But I'm not a fan.) Anyway, I downloaded the first podcast to give it a trial listen and was very pleasantly surprised. The music is really good. So I'm officially subscribed to a podcast I found on my own. I feel like such a big girl now. Give me a cookie.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


If you know our four year old Sean, is this not a glimpse into the future?! George Duran (Ham on the Street/Food Network) looks just like what I can imagine Sean looking like in twenty years.
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