Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thankful Days 8, 9, & 10

Today...okay, I missed a few days... I am thankful that I work with a great group of people! I really like hanging out with them!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thankful Day 7

Today I am thankful that my Christmas tree is up, lights on, angel on, and tree skirt around it. That seems to be the hardest part. Now I just have to put the ornaments on.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thankful Day 6

Today I am thankful for a four-day week. And for a comfy bed that I'm about to crawl into!

Thankful Day 5

A day late...
Today I am thankful for a safe trip back to my apartment.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thankful Day 4

Today I am thankful for the familiar. Familiar people, familiar places and familiar routines. It's nice to know people and feel like you belong somewhere.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thankful Day 3

Today I am thankful that we had a successful family baking experience. My three sisters and I were at my mom and dad's and we all baked Christmas cookies. We made 5 different kinds...not sure how many total, but we all came away with quite a few to enjoy now and some to save for our family Christmas on December 27th. We all seemed to enjoy ourselves and no one got mad at anyone. And even though we are all tired, I think that we all had a good time and are glad that Mom suggested the idea.

Thankful Day 2

I know, I know, I missed saying what I was thankful for yesterday. So, here is what I was thankful for yesterday...

I'm thankful to have seen the first snowflakes of the season! I LOVE SNOW!!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I know I haven't blogged in a while. I really have no excuse.

I meant to start this yesterday, but I was too busy. So, I'll do it today.

I have a friend or two who have been posting all month what they are thankful for. Kind of a way to get in the Thanksgiving spirit. I realized this week that I was not at all in the Thanksgiving spirit. In fact, I wasn't very thankful at all. So, I decided that I'd start on the 25th of November and post something every day that I'm thankful for until Christmas...or New Years. I'm hoping that that will also put me in the Christmas spirit.

Today...I am thankful that I can come home. I am thankful that I can still come home to the place where I was raised. I am thankful that I can be surrounded by family and friends. I am thankful that it is a place that lets me unwind and leave the stress behind. I am thankful that I can come home.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

All Will Be Right In My World

Later this evening, all will be right in my world.
For the past 10 years or so, there has been something that has been off about my summers. The fireflies weren't as bright, the appeal of summer hasn't been there for me, and time just seemed to pass like any other day.
Why? Why have I not had amazing summers for the past 10 years? Oh, there have been plenty of great summers. Nice weather, great trips, ocean fun. But, it just hasn't been the same.
But tonight, tonight, all will finally be set right. My summer world will be placed firmly back on its axis.
Why and how, you ask??
Tonight, the missing piece, the missing person from my summers will be back in her rightful place! And the heavens will rejoice!

For as long as I can remember, the start of summer, for me, was always signaled by the arrival of twins from Oklahoma. It always happened around the end of May. My family would know when our neighbors, Lou and Dale and their son Johnny would leave for Oklahoma. That's when the waiting would begin. We would know when they were leaving and how long they planned to be gone. Around the expected date, I would always try to be outside after school. I would watch the road and my neighbors house, not knowing if the truck would come up the road or down the road. Then the day would finally come. The truck would come past and either honk the horn or sometimes they didn't have to because the sounds of girls in the back of the truck was enough to alert me that summer was offically here. Sandy and Brandy had arrived! Then it was the waiting for a phone call to be invited up or for them to come walking down the road! That's when summer began! And, boy, did it ever begin. Nights at the Big House, hanging out watching movies at Lou and Dale's, being invited to stay for dinner with Lou's cooking (I remember mac and cheese for some reason), catching fireflies, playing that game with the two ropes that you pull apart and the thing in the middle, bible school, playing in the park, birthday parties at the Big House, eating watermelon that had been chilled in the creek at the Big House, swimming in the pool at the trailer, Teen Time, Church Camp. I have so many memories and could probably go on forever...
Then, the beginning of August would roll around and it was time for them to pack up the truck again and time to say good by until next May. Summer was over and my friends were leaving town. But, I always had next May to look forward to.

Then we all grew up and went different ways. They didn't come in the summers any more. We went to college, got married, had kids, moved to different parts of the country. Summer was never the same.
Until last summer when one half of the duo came in July! It was the same anticipation! Waiting to see their car up the road. And sure enough, didn't I get a call from her aunt the second they pulled in the driveway at Lou and Dale's house. And this time, Sandy decided to stay full time!
And so, today, I sit with the same anticipation that I remember having for all those summers of my childhood. Brandy is coming tonight! I feel like I'm 10 years old again, waiting for the call that she's here, half ready to ask my mom if I can go play with Sandy and Brandy. (Don't worry, I don't have to ask anymore...I have my own car and I just tell her that I'm going to play ;)).

Tonight, all will be right with the world because two of the greatest people from my childhood, and life for that matter, will be here as a cohesive unit. All is right in the world. Now we just have to convince her to stay ;)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Today, the strong urge to buy a motorcycle came over me. Don't worry, I didn't actually buy one...yet But, how cool would it be to have one??
When I was little, I asked for a motorcycle for Christmas.
You know what I got??
A toy motorcycle.
I didn't think that was very funny.
The rest of the family did. cool would it be to have a motorcycle?
Maybe I'll buy one as a reward to myself for something in the future. Like, not in a year, but maybe 5 or 10 years down the road?
You know, my list of things to do keeps getting longer every day.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Tonight, after work, I went shopping for new clothes.
There was an excellent chance that this would be a great outing.
The other day, I had seen a couple things that I wanted to try on.
I had coupons that if I would have bought a total of $75 worth of clothes, I actually would have only paid $20. So, that's what I was shooting least $75 worth to make my coupons work for me.

The clothes were great...great colors, great looks, my styles. I mean, these clothes were f--ing HOT!!!

And then I entered the dressing room. And that's where it all went straight to hell!

The clothes that were so hot on the hanger were not so much on me. They either didn't fit or didn't fit right. They showed too much of the things I don't want to show... You know...the fat, stretch marks, etc.

And now I'm totally disappointed. I mean, these clothes were great. They were the styles that I like, the colors that I like and are in fashion, and they were clothes that had the potential to make me look like great (you know the clothes...the ones you see everyone else wearing an think, "That's really cute or hot or whatever other word you want to put in here.") And I walked out of there with absolutely nothing!

So, now, I'm determined to lose weight. When I think about my body, the image that's in the mirror is not the image that comes to mind. Then, I happen to walk by the mirror and I quickly look away because that can't be me.

Anyone have any good, quick, healthy recipes? Anyone have any advice on huge weight loss? Help, please!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wide Open Spaces

Have you ever wanted to lay down in a field and just surrender yourself to the grass and wind?

No? Maybe I'm the only one. Almost two years ago, as my friend and I were driving across country, I had this experience. We were in Minnesota, on some back roads, driving through the praire. Every now and then a grain elevator would show itself. No trees, no mountains. We ended up surrounded by praire at one point. The landscape was open and green; green and rolling. The wind was amazing. We learned later that they were having high cross winds in the northern plains. Whatever it was, it was a beautiful combination. So beautiful, breath-taking, and awe-inspiring that I had to stop the car. Literally, I pulled over and just sat. I had to feel it. We rolled down the windows. I got out. I had to feel it. What I really wanted to do was to run into the middle of the grass and lay down. However, I didn't think that whoever owned the land would appreciate that. So, I restrained. We took video and pictures, but they don't do it justice.

Since then, I often feel like I need to do that. Just find a field and lay down in the grass. And just be. Just let everything blow over me and be in the middle of it, and just be. Not worrying about the pile of papers that keep growing on my desk at work, not worrying about emptying the dishwasher, not trying to make anyone happy. Just be.

When I think about where I want to vacation or where I would go on retreat, my mind goes there. To forget it all. To just be. To the green, wide open, rolling praire.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Now I've Heard It All...

So, I was watching the local evening news tonight when a story caught my attention. Keep in mind that I live probably the largest farming area in the state. The headline was about a new Farm Odor Law that is being put into place on Feb. 27th. Farmers will now have to have a management plan for controlling farm odor. Are you kidding me??? The problem, they said, is that more residential areas are creeping closer and closer to the rural farming areas and the smell is becoming a problem.

Hello... am I the only one who thinks that this is ridiculous. So, you mean to tell me that when a person decides to build or buy a house within seeing distance to a farm, they don't think that those pretty cows they see won't come with some extra smells??? Seriously??? Is it the farmers fault that manure smells?? You knew this when you bought the house! But, no, we wouldn't want to offend any one, would we?

Here is what the new regulations entail for the farmers:
-Farmer must submit a plan to the state from a certified odor-management specialist.
-State Conservation Commission will review and decide whether to approve each plan.
-Projects likely to affect farm's neighbors must include strategies for managing odor, such as cleaning regimen or ventilation system.
-Regulations take effect Feb. 27
-Only affect new or expanding CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operations) buildings

Luckily, it only affects new buildings on farms.

A spokesman for the state farm bureau, who backs this plan and helped to write it, estimated that a management plan will cost about $1200 for the farmer, not including any installation of fans or ventalation systems. $1200 just to write up a plan...a piece of paper stating how you will control the wind that carries the smells that occur naturally in nature.

Dennis Wolff, the secretary of agriculture said that "the new rules are especially important with increasing sprawl in farm communities" and that "These new regulations are geared to help minimize conflict between those not accustomed to farm odors and the agricultural producers working to meet our increasing world food needs." No wonder there is a disconnect between farm and table. No one wants to accept the things that go along with food production.

Part of what makes country life great, in my opinion, is being able to smell the country. Whenever we would go for a drive on a Sunday and we would smell manure in the air, my dad would always take a deep breath and say something about the good smell of that Clarion County air. Whenever I smell the country, I take a deep breath...and will continue to do so, hoping that I'll actually be able to smell it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Yesterday, I went to the local public library in an effort to get some paperwork done. I needed to be away from the distractions of my place and my office. After searching for an empty table where I could spread out my binders and paperwork, I ended up settling on one in the children's section. It was well lit and there were maybe one or two people there. So, I settled down to work.

The children's section in the library is the entire second floor. There is a castle tower, a kitchen play area, computers with kids games, and, of course, books. As I was working, there were two girls, I'm assuming they were sisters, who were wandering about, looking at books and trying out the games. The one girl found her way to the kitchen play area and started to make dinner. She set about the chores and was interrupted by a phone call on the yellow plastic phone. She answered it cheerfully, as if it was no inconvenience to be interrupted in the middle of cooking. Apparently it was one of her best friends on the phone because she seemed delighted to be talking to the person on the other end of the plastic phone conversation. After the conversation had ended, she continued to fix dinner with no water boiling over the pan, no burnt food, no flopped new recipes.

As I was watching and listening to the scene play out before me, I couldn't help but think about how much I'd like to go back to those days. When you pretended to be an adult, nothing bad ever happened at your job, dinner always turned out perfectly, and the bill collectors never called or sent letters. Everything was always perfect and pleasant in your pretend adult life. I remember pretending to be various things when I was growing up. I was a tomboy, so these aren't your traditional roles that I would find myself in. I remember pretending that I ran a lumber company/hardware store and took orders for so many 2x4's and certain countertops. I remember pretending that I was a mechanic and customers would come in to have a tune-up. I remember pretending that I was a farmer who was bailing a bumper crop of hay. I remember pretending that I was a successful baseball player who was playing in a game that was tied, in the bottom of the ninth with 2 outs, and I hit a home run to win the game.

Whatever the role was that I found myself in, nothing bad ever happened. No one ever got mad that the lumber order didn't arrive on time. No one was upset that they had to have a complete overhaul of their engine. The crops never failed because of a drought. My team always won the world series and never had a player busted because of steroid use.

I watched this little girl playing house and thought about how nice it would be to be happy every time the phone rang or enjoy doing daily house chores. I thought about how our entire childhood is preparing us for adulthood. We role play various things, trying them out, figuring them out, seeing how it works. Then, one day, we realize that we aren't role playing any more. We are adults and suddenly bad things happen. People are mad when we don't meet deadlines. People expect things from us and if we don't meet those expectations, there are consequences. The drain clogs and water runs all over the floor. The cookies burn to a crisp and you throw them in the trash.

Then I realized that children have to block out the bad things in life. Adults have to shelter the kids from some of the every day crap that goes on. Otherwise, who would want to grow up and be an adult.