Sensational Senses

Day 6 of the 31 Day Blog Challenge

I SEE…

  • The Harry’s Law episode that I DVR’d over the weekend
  • Four completed Scooby Doo puzzles on the floor that the small child and I completed yesterday
  • A stuffed orca whale on the floor, brought to the living room to watch Sesame Street with the small child before school
  • My “Mine Mine Mine” coffee cup…sadly empty
  • Laundry…folded & unfolded

I HEAR…

  • The Harry’s Law episode that I DVR’d over the weekend
  • The sound my computer makes when it is on
  • The clicking of keys on my computer keyboard
  • The washer and dryer running
  • The quiet behind all of the above noises

I SMELL…

  • Coffee?  Nope, gone…
  • Cinnamon rolls?  Nope, eaten…
  • Laundry detergent?  Nope, too far away…
  • Litter box?  Thankfully, no…
  • Nothing?  Yes!

I TASTE…

  • Vestiges of coffee & cinnamon rolls
  • Nothing else at the moment, though I will be tasting…
  • Ham & cheese sandwich (for lunch)
  • Snickerdoodles (yum)
  • TBD (for dinner) due to the spring concert this evening for the small child (can anyone say eating out?)

I FEEL…

  • Overly warm
  • In need of a massage
  • Due for a pedicure
  • Overwhelmed with laundry
  • Excited (and a little overwhelmed) with some life changing decisions
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Saturday Snapshot

I ran across the Saturday Snapshot meme today on Book Journey, a book blog that I read regularly.  I do like taking pictures – and I’m not very good – but it sounds like a fun activity, especially if it gets me carrying my camera around again.  So here goes…

 This meme is hosted by at home with books, which I will be following (starting today),
because not only does it have the fun Saturday Snapshot, it is a blog about books.  Can’t get much better than that.

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

I took this picture of my son and his Pap Pap (my father-in-law), during Christmas 2010.  He was absolutely glued to Pap’s side for pretty much our entire visit.  On the day we celebrated Christmas with the whole family, this is where my sweet boy could be found.  He could hardly be pried away to eat, or to play with his cousins (big, strapping college graduates).  And he loves to play with his cousins.   They became, in fact, a bit jealous of the fact that Pap was not only getting all the attention, but that they were snuggled up together talking or reading, something the big, strapping cousins never get to do with him because all he wants them to do is play…play…play.

What the small child was (probably) only vaguely aware of was that this was the first time we got to see Pap after he had heart surgery.  This was three months post surgery, and while he was recovering beautifully & right on schedule, he was still about 3 months away from total recovery.  We were touched and amazed at how tuned in he was to Pap’s energy level.  We didn’t discuss the surgery with him (except to tell him that it happened), and any worries that my husband or I had about it remained private.  Nevertheless, he clearly sensed something, and the picture above captures exactly how they were for the duration of our visit.

Christmas Rant (several years in the making)

So back when I was still referring to the small child as the tiny child…probably 3-4 years ago now…a remark was made to me about how spoiled my child was due to the number of gifts he had received for Christmas.  We were not at home, and the gifts were not from us, but from grandparents, aunts & uncles who love him desperately and gave him gifts from their hearts because they love him.

He loves them back…not because of the gifts, but because they shower him with love & attention every time they see him.  They hug him & kiss him, they talk to him & read to him, they play with him & snuggle with him, they tickle him & wrestle with him, they take him on adventures & hang out with him.  They make him feel important to them, and he adores them.  He loves gifts – what child doesn’t – but he looks forward to seeing them more than anything in the world, regardless of whether or not gifts are involved.

Just to illustrate that I’m not exaggerating, last Christmas when we were there, we could hardly pry him away from his grandfather for the entire visit.  Wherever Pap when, the small child went.  If Pap was doing a puzzle, so was he.  If Pap was reading, it was most often to the small child in his lap.  When we all gathered for Christmas dinner, he was snuggled up under Pap’s arm or on Pap’s lap the entire time, to the point that some cousins (big, strapping cousins who had graduated from college) were a little envious because they weren’t getting the attention.  I want it to be like that for as long as it can be…those two have a relationship that needs as much fostering as possible, because it won’t last forever (on this earth), and the small child should have as many wonderful memories as possible with that extraordinary man.

But back to the grievance, because what is Christmas without some (petty?) rant about something that annoys the snot out of you, and thus becomes part of your Christmas family folklore?  I responded quickly, and with some indignation, that he was not spoiled, and the rejoinder to me was a comment pointing out all the toys he was getting for Christmas, and how is that not spoiled?  I am not naive.  I know that we all are greatly spoiled.  Our lives are comfortable.  Our Christmas Wish Lists contain our wants, because our needs are more than met already.  Many of us (myself included) show our love to those we love through the gifts we give.  My response at this point to say that I know he is materially spoiled, but he does not have a spoiled attitude.  It has been important to us from the very beginning to make sure that he is always appreciative to those who give him gifts…that he always says thank you with love & hugs, and that when he is unable to say so in person, we (together) write a note to convey our gratitude.

So I was somewhat put out by this presumptuous comment, and completely put out when there were further (unnecessary) statements to the effect of how their child would not be spoiled, that they would not parent that way, that there was always a trash can into which the overabundance of gifts could be deposited on the way out the door.

Seriously??  So they would be willing to deprive the grandparents, aunts & uncles who love their child of the joy of giving gifts and seeing their child enjoy them?  Surely you can’t be serious!

Further (and this is what really got my undies in a bunch), this is someone who , along with the rest of the grands, has been spoiled – very spoiled – for their entire lives by the very grandparents, aunts & uncles who are now spoiling my child.  Not to mention the fact that the spoiling is not limited to when they are babies.  They are spoiled all the way to (and into) adulthood.  Why?  Because they are loved.  Very, very loved.  By lots of people for whom one way of showing that love is giving gifts.  This love extends to spouses.  And it extends to their offspring…because now they have one of their own.

How does that disconnect occur?  How can such a judgment be made about my child without immediately recognizing that they are the proverbial pot calling the kettle black?

I suppose now I’m wondering, and with more than a little interest, if they will live by the principle that was voiced to me, or will they do as we all have done…be happy that their own offspring is loved with the depth and breadth that he is.  My personal opinion is that they will accept with graciousness any gift that is given, and that the conversation of a few years ago was an instance of firmly inserting a foot in a mouth by verbalizing a judgment that should have been kept to oneself.  How often we do that, especially when we have not had the benefit of the experience we are judging.

So with that…Merry Christmas.  May you be spoiled way beyond your expectations.

Chaotic Cogitations

I love alliteration.  A lot.

I love watching the hubby and small child snuggle up on the couch, talking and watching whatever it is that their guy hearts desire.  It’s such a great change to observe how alike they are.  I kept thinking today as I watched them that I should get the camera and capture the moment…but I didn’t, ’cause I was comfortable, and I didn’t want to move.  Lazy, that.

The small child has mastered the use of the iPad to the point that he is VERY adept at shopping in the app store for games he thinks he must have.  I’ve limited him to free games (with the occasional $$ game thrown in), and he has displayed an uncanny ability to find every single free game in existence.  Glad he doesn’t know my iTunes password…that’s all I’m sayin’.

Just how many times does one adult need to sit through Scooby Doo before it constitutes enough?  Well, I’ll let you know…

Made homemade chili yesterday using the uber-delicious Chugwater Chili spice blend.  So easy that even I will do it.  I am not a magician in the kitchen by any stretch – that moniker is definitely reserved for my husband – but I have swerved into a few winners, of which this is one.  Follow the link to check out Chugwater products & recipes:  http://www.chugwaterchili.com.

Pumpkin mellows are yummy…and so much better than candy corn.

So I made this crazy, sort-of-halfway-sincere-maybe resolution to embark on a reading challenge for 12 months – October 2011 to October 2012 – in which I would read off my own shelves for a change.  I’m a library gal, and I can hardly resist buying a good book when it’s a steal (can we say used book stores & thrifting??!!), so the question is not whether or not it’s a good idea (it definitely is), but whether or not I can actually not indulge in the more-than-occasional book purchase.  We shall see.

Of course, the above has been made a bit more difficult now since my hubby got me a Kindle for my birthday.  Yay!  He rocks!

And speaking of the Kindle, I downloaded the ESV Bible (for free) and used it at church today.  Now that’s cool, and it weighs less too.

Added a tagline to my personal blog when I transitioned to WordPress.  A zaftig cogitating…  What do you think?

Man, I wish I could go up to Michigan and see my sweet friend Mandi, who just had her third child (second daughter).  She’s a cutie patootie, as are her big sis & big bro, and I am achin’ for some snuggles from darlin’ baby Em!!

My husband fixed my car today – a whole in the coolant reservoir that caused my car to steam vociferously from every crevice around the hood and spew dark red liquid into a nice big puddle under the car.  Thankfully it was minor, though it didn’t appear so at the time.  Of course, as he was concluding that repair, he found that the battery had given up the ghost as well.  Thankfully Walmart delivered some customer service (for a change…usually it’s customer no-service) and sold him the battery after the auto shop had closed.  So I’m back on the road again. 🙂

I love the word desultory.

And quixotic.

I wish I had the talent for words that Mark Twain had…that Flannery O’Connor had…that Jack Kerouac had…that Pat Conroy has…that J.K. Rowling has…that Kathryn Stockett has.  What an impressive mastery of the English language each one of them displays, in their own disparate styles, when spinning exquisitely written tales that transport me straight into the heart of the story.

Still struggling theologically over predestination & free will, particularly in how it is possible to have freedom to make choices while understanding that God knew us (and the course of our lives) before the foundation of the world.  Them’s some deep thoughts…for another day.

Randomly Ruminating…

…my brain is full of non sequiturs.  Read on…

In the midst of registering my sweet little man for school this year, I got to cogitating.  A great education is completely unrelated to how much a school may (or may not) cost to attend.  Really good schools can cost a small fortune (McCallie & Girl’s Preparatory in TN), or they can cost next to nothing (Great Hearts Academny in AZ).  I mention these schools because they are the ones I know, and their reputations are not earned by the $$ that goes into the school, but rather by the stellar graduates they produce – on a regular and consistent basis.  This is a great thing, because it means that a top notch education is available to anyone who has the wherewithal to seek it out and obtain it.

I have had a singularly frustrating week this week, and it has been largely due to the ineptitude of government.  It all started with needing to get licensed here in Arizona, and get our cars registered here.

  • Monday (Day 1) – Arrive at the DMV that really isn’t the DMV because it is third-party outsourcing.  Can they register my vehicles?  No…systems are down statewide.  Went to Phil’s office to print the sheef (reem?) of registration paperwork for Cody’s school, filled it out & dropped it off, only to learn that I had forgotten one essential item – his birth certificate.  Aarrgghh!!
  • Tuesday (Day 2) – Took the birth certificate to school.  Hooray – officially registered now.  Arrive at the “not really the DMV” only to learn that I could still not register our vehicles.  This time because neither vehicle is in my name, and because I need to have emissions testing done on mine.  I don’t suppose this information was available on Monday, right?  OK, what about getting my license?  Not there, but the licensing office is down the road, and I’m given a map…to the COMMERCIAL licensing office, which of course does not apply to me.  OK, where do I go?  Back in the direction I came from to the Motor Vehicle Division…oops, wrong again.  This is another third-party that only does tags & insurance…but hey, it’s cleaner than the first one, and I’ll go back to it when I have my documentation.  Cross the street to the DMV (finally) only to find it overflowing with people because of the system failure on Monday.  In an building with 133 maximum occupancy, they were at or exceeding those numbers.  It was packed, hot (because the a/c was fritzing), stinky (what do you expect?), dirty, and noisy.  I tried, but when I realized I LEFT MY LICENSE AT HOME, I gave up and left.  Aarrgghh…again!!  Too late to do emissions.  Went to Walmart to get Cody’s school supplies, and two hours later (and some $$$ later) we got home…exhausted.
  • Wednesday (Day 3) – Forgot to get Phil to sign the paperwork for the tags, and he’s in downtown Phoenix all day at a job site.  My bad.  Got the emissions testing done, then off to TJ Maxx (my favorite store…yay!) to get drawer organizers for the gargantuan task of getting my kitchen organized.  <– Progress, but this is going to take a while.
  • Thursday (Day 4) – SUCCESS…FINALLY!!  Not only did I get both of our vehicles registered (wow, was that expensive), but I also am officially licensed to drive in the state of Arizona.  While this is all good, it does highlight the complete inefficiency of government.  Why could not most of this be done online?  It was just paperwork and fees, for heaven’s sake.  As a reward to my long suffering 6yo, who patiently accompanied me on all of these excursions, he is now happily playing in the Chick-fil-A playground while I’m taking advantage of their Wi-Fi and drinking a (well-deserved) Diet Dr. Pepper. 🙂

In light of the above, I am even more thankful than I already was for the relaxing weekend we spent with our much-missed friends, the Kriegs.  What a fun time we had…celebrating sweet Cody’s 6th (yes…6th) birthday with a yummy meal, a “made with love by Mandi” birthday cake complete with dinosaur decorations, and a birthday present worthy of the happiest of happy dances (Rex from Toy Story 3).  We also got to see the Detroit Zoo, which was a cool outing made even cooler by a fabulous dinosaur exhibit, had yummy Mexican food for dinner, and then watched Sherlock Holmes (a fantastic movie).  The kids & guys got to swim while we grown-up girls got pedicures & laughed riotously over yummy Pei Wei food.  An evening of pizza & kidlet movies (Mater’s Tall Tales and Three Little Pigs & a Baby), then church the next morning that fed my soul with a good Sunday School lesson and great sermon.  We hauled a** to the airport (with a quick stop at Culver’s for lunch), and made it through security with lots of time to spare.  Kudos to Mark for the outstandingdriving.  We are so thankful for y’all, and can’t wait to return the hospitality (we recommend a winter visit!).

So as I’m sitting here watching my kiddo play and letting my ice cream melt, I am thinking once again about last night’s Skype call to my parents, and how surprised I was when Taylor came in to say hello because his voice is so much lower than it was the last time I saw him.  That is a rather sad testament to how long it has been.  At least a year and a half, maybe more…

It is HOT outside this week – fluctuating in the 108-116* range.  Ridiculously hot.

I am way behind in my reading for this year, making it very likely impossible to reach all of the goals (or complete all of the challenges) I set for myself.  My main reading goal is always 100 books, not counting any of the reading I do with or to Cody.  I’m about halfway.  The best I’ve done in the past 5 years is 84 books in a single year, and this is a paltry number compared to some readers I follow, who complete each year with 200-300 books under the belts.  I want to hit my target at least, and I’d like to do that every year.  There is still time to ramp up the effort, so I’m going to try.

I’ve gone up from a 1.25 magnification in my reading glasses to a 1.5 this year.  Aging sucks.

My interest has been piqued in kinesiology…specifically how it could benefit me with some of the health issues I have.  I’ve wondered…because when things seem to be long term or chronic, and medication seems to be a permanent fixture, it causes me to ponder if there are other (more effective) solutions.

Since it’s past 4:30pm and I’ve yet to open a box today, I’ll leave this to be continued…hopefully tomorrow.

(Somewhat) Random Thoughts

I’ve been playing around with my blog design to find something that seemed to be more representative of the vision I had in mind.  This is what I came up with.  Tell me what you think…really!

In addition to the above, I designed another blog (which I posted about previously) so I can contain my bookish observations, reviews, lists, etc.  They are overflowing out of me, and it has gotten to the point where I’m posting more regularly along that line than along the various other meanderings of my brain.  Of course, I’ve been reading a lot (more) lately, which I suppose could account for that.

With regard to the reading a lot, if you have read something that you think is fabulous, tell me about it.  Tell me here, or at Bookish Nerd, or on Facebook, or through email, or (gasp) we could talk on the phone.  I know, that’s practically out of fashion anymore, but still…you could text. LOL

As I’m looking around, I note that I’m sitting in the living room that is absolutely chaotic with the detritus of a 5-year-old boy who is on spring break.  A barn, animals, books, DVDs, animals, PlayMobil (teeny tiny) pieces, Buzz Lightyear, animals, Sheriff Woody, Jessie, animals, a dinosaur camo throw, tractors pulling wagons filled with (have I mentioned this before??) animals.  What is miraculous about this is that I haven’t blown a gasket as he sits absorbed in The Land Before Time and completely content with the state of things.  This is something that bothers…really bothers…me.  To the point that I can’t relax until order is restored, and yet my darling son – so like his father – can be completely at ease in the midst of it.  Just push it over to the side if you need the space.  No problem…he’s going to use (play with) each item at some point…this week…ya know, so let’s not be putting things away unnecessarily.  I mean, you should see his bed.  It can be made neatly, with a few of his stuffed animals settled strategically for a warm & inviting sleeping environment, and as I peak in before heading to my own bed, every stuffed animal he owns is piled (PILED) at the head of his bed, and he is sleeping in some cockeyed position, snuggled within the pile, and possibly with some part of his body hanging off the bed.  Now when I say that he reminds me somewhat (as does my husband at times) of Pigpen in the Charlie Brown comics, who constantly has this little dirt cloud swirling behind him, you can visualize the trail of belongings that follows my son wherever he goes.  It goes beyond my threshold for clutter, and yet…well…he’s 5.

Since I promised said darling 5-year-old boy (who has informed me he is hungry) that I would prepare dinner at 6:00p, and he has been watching the clock, and I am now 9 minutes past my promise, I will stop and attend to him.

Until next time.