30 December 2009

Stuck in London

So since today is another day I guess I will talk about my exciting trip home from Scotland. As I mentioned earlier I was slightly homesick over Christmas and I was excited to go home. Part of my problem was that when I initially bought my tickets I was going to take the train from London to Glasgow. The people I was staying with told me that I didn’t want to take the train since it would take hours and would be expensive. So I then bought a ticket from the Gatwick airport to Glasgow.

Coming home I made it to the airport in plenty of time. The problem came when the plane landed in the wrong terminal at Gatwick. We then had to wait while the plane taxied forever, and then we were bussed to a different terminal and had to wait for our luggage. I then had to check my bags and get through security. When I was standing in the long line to check my bags a guard came around and had people shift so that those with earlier flights would be helped sooner. When I told the guard which flight I had she laughed. I had an hour and she took me out of line and told me that I needed to get my ticket changed because there was no way that I could make my original flight.

I panicked. I went to a help desk and panicked even more when I heard the customer service guy tell the lady in front of me that her tickets were non-transferable and that she would have to pay for a whole new ticket. By the time it was my turn I was so worried that I couldn’t understand what the guy was telling me. He had to repeat himself several times before I heard that there was another plane I could catch that would get me home. He made me wait for a while to see if there were any openings and by the time I learned I had to run through security and was one of the last people on the plane. I relaxed a little for the transatlantic flight and when I went through customs I was feeling a little better because at least I was on the same continent as the rest of my family.

Originally I had a transfer in Chicago and then Denver, since my tickets were changed I had a transfer in Ohio, then Chicago, and then I would be on my original flight at Denver. When I was trying to get to Denver I was given a ticket but the problem was apparently the flight was overbooked. Someone was already in the seat and there wasn’t another one open. A flight attendant was called over and the person who had the original ticket was moved up to first class and I was going to take the other seat. The lady let me have the first class seat because she wanted to stay with her friend. What nice seats. *sigh*

I was so glad when I made it home. I had been traveling for twenty hours at that point and when I saw my parents waiting for me I felt a wave of relief. As Douglas Adams wrote: “It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression ‘As pretty as an airport.’” How true how true.

23 December 2009

Scotland at Christmas

I made it to the end of my solo on Sunday. My hands were okay until about halfway through the song. I am so glad it is over.

Several years ago I sent myself to Scotland for Christmas. I was struggling with several difficult situations so I figured my first overseas trip would cheer me up. One of the reasons I chose Scotland was the fact that we have family friends who live there and I knew everyone, including myself, would feel more comfortable if I wasn’t by myself.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend traveling to a country so far north in the winter but it was a lot of fun. The sun rose at ten and set at three. I supposedly saw Stirling castle but it looked like a black shadow as we drove by on our way to the Loch Ness. Another day I was walking down the streets of Glasgow and hearing a street performer play the bagpipes. I had to stop and listen to him for a while and the people I was with laughed and talked amongst themselves about how I really was an American. Later I chuckled to myself when they pronounced “quesadilla” with the double “l” sound and not a “ya” sound. It was marvelous experience. (Although a nightmare getting home but that is a story for another day.)

I was surprised when I became homesick Christmas morning. I thought that I would be so excited to be there that being gone over Christmas wouldn’t bother me.

At this time of year I am extremely grateful for my family. With the Holidays upon us I am glad that I am close to home and have the modern conveniences to talk to those who have their home elsewhere. What a wonderful time of year. Merry Christmas.

16 December 2009

Piano Solos

I play the piano. I really enjoy playing the piano. In fact, I am currently the pianist for the children in my church on Sunday. I love playing for the kids. They don’t care if I make a mistake.

Several years ago I was asked to perform a piano solo in a church Christmas program. I have preformed solos before but they were for recitals when I was twelve(ish) and are not the same. When I was taking piano lessons there was always a yearly recital and the people that go to the recitals are: 1) There to see their own children and don’t care about the other children. 2) Have already heard the song over and over because they were around when it was being practiced. 3) Were dragged there and just want it to end quickly. At a Christmas program there is an entirely new level of expectation from the audience.

I enjoy playing the piano and while I am not perfect, I am enthusiastic. Enthusiasm doesn’t always cut it, especially when there are other performers who are both perfect and enthusiastic. When I perform in front of large groups I get really nervous. My hands start to shake and it is rather difficult to try and play the right notes since my hands are moving on their own. Before I play there are always people telling me that it will be okay. Normally those people are the ones who are sitting in the audience, not performing, clapping for me afterwards and their words of encouragement aren’t very helpful.

I practiced the solo for the Christmas program a lot. I had a really neat version of “Oh Come all ye Faithful” and I could play it nearly perfectly when I was at my grandparent’s. The day of the solo arrived and I was glad a lot of people were gone since it was the Christmas holiday. I was feeling pretty good until the other pianist did her solo of “O Holy Night.” I lost my calm at that point and my hands started to shake. I kept repeating a prayer over and over that my hands wouldn’t shake while I was playing.

When it was my turn I dragged myself up to the front and sat down at the piano. I organized my music and was amazed that my hands were actually steady. I have never played for any kind of audience with such steady hands. That was when my right leg started to bounce and shake. For the life of me, I could not get my leg to stop shaking. I am pretty sure I made it through the whole song but to be honest I have no memory of actually playing anything other than the first cord. After the services were over I had a lot of compliments on my solo so apparently I did okay.

You think I would have learned my lesson. Oh no. Two weeks ago I was asked to perform a piano solo for the Christmas program this Sunday. I really hope that both my hands and my leg are steady this time around.

09 December 2009


It snowed this weekend which was nice. (If it is going to be cold I might as well have snow which looks pretty.) I have always preferred being cold rather than hot. It is much easier to just pile on another blanket or have a cup of hot chocolate. When it is too hot there are only so many articles of clothing I can remove. I also don’t do very well in the sun. I am rather fair skinned so going swimming to stay cool is just inviting pain from sunburns later on.

I get sunburned a lot. I was helping one of my friends move and wasn’t thinking about the weather. The sky was overcast and it drizzled on and off the whole time. The problem was the next day my face hurt because there was just enough sun to give me a sunburn. During the summer I normally put on sunscreen since I walk part of the way to work. I have a more difficult time remembering to put it on during the other seasons because I normally associate sunburns with warmth.

I wasn’t a very smart child. I knew I got sunburned and I would have to apply the sunscreen quite often if I wanted to even stand a chance of surviving. I finally gave up and told my mother that since sunscreen didn’t work I might as well not wear it. I remember quite a few summers of having my back burned so bad it would blister and peel. I am glad to say I have a lot more intelligence now.

Back towards the original topic of this week’s entry, I love the cold. It gives me an excuse to bundle up in long sleeves and trousers and since the sun sets so early in the winter I am basically sunburn free. Bring on the snow. (Just wait, in March I will retract that statement.)

02 December 2009

Mutilated Christmas Trees

I asked my husband what I should write about today. He suggested writing about mutilated Christmas trees. I wasn’t sure how to take that remark. I will admit that my family’s Christmas tree is not as full as other trees but it isn’t a Charlie Brown tree. The branches may be sparse but it isn’t mutilated. As kids we thought the sparse branches were cool because we could hang more than one ornament on a branch. The ornaments would also hang free and not just rest on the branches below.

I worry about getting Christmas tree this year because we have a cat. I guess last year we had her as well but she was smaller and she was still pretty timid. I can imagine coming home from work to find the tree on its side or her perched in the branches playing with the ornaments.

I look forward to Christmas trees. I love the way they smell, candles just aren’t the same. I don’t mind spending the money every year to buy a live tree. There may be a time in the way distant future when I get an artificial tree but since they don’t come mutilated I am holding off.

25 November 2009

Round Robin at Thanksgiving

I was trying to think of some funny Thanksgiving stories but I couldn’t. My Thanksgivings were always very nice and involved lots of good food. One year we went to the school and played with our foxtail. It looks kind of like half a tennis ball with a long fabric tail coming off the end. You throw it by swinging the tail. It is always best to play somewhere where there aren’t too many trees. We have left many a foxtail in state and national parks when we went camping.

One game that we often play at Thanksgiving, or with family in general, is Round Robin. It is a ping-pong game where there is a single paddle on either side of the table and the group of people playing surrounds the table in a long circular line. One person serves and then sets down the paddle and moves out of the way so the next person in line can pick up the paddle. The person on the other side returns it and sets down the paddle and moves out of the way. The new person then has to return the ball and move for the next person in line. You continue around the table until someone misses the ball and they are out. When you get down to four or three players you run around pretty fast trying to pick up the paddle and hit the ball. When there are two players, after you hit the ball you have to spin 180 before you can hit the ball again. My mom usually wins because she is a methodical player and knows how to spot when spinning.

My mom told me that she was cleaning out the basement room with the ping-pong table. Since there is a ping-pong table at work I have gotten better at playing. I think I actually have a chance this year.

18 November 2009

Reading at the Doctor's Office

Recently I’ve had lots of doctor’s appointments and so, whenever I have to go, I take a book with me. There is a lot of time to read while in the waiting room or in the office itself. Reading is the one advantage to having weekly appointments. I know that I will have at least half an hour of reading on that particular day. I normally read a lot so every time I go I have a new book and every week, without fail, someone comments on the fact that I have a book. I don’t see a specific doctor, in this particular office they rotate, so there are a lot of different people I see.

The nurses remain more constant and there is one nurse in particular that is my book buddy. Even if she is not my nurse for the visit she always comes to say hello and see what book I am reading. There was one week that I walked in and she told me that she had a book for me to read. She faltered over the name but I was able to fill the rest in. She looked at me in surprise and I admitted that I had gotten it from the library and read it over the weekend and was hoping to suggest it to her. She grumbled in mock disgust and then wrote down the title and author of the book that I was reading.

The doctors always say the same thing when they see me with a book.
“A book. That’s a good idea.”

What do they expect me to do while I am waiting for them, sometimes more than an hour? One of the doctors wondered how much I actually read and was rather surprised when I told him I go through, on average, one book a week. Sometimes it is more than one (when the book is really good and I don’t get anything else accomplished at home), sometimes it takes me longer tp finish them, (if the book doesn’t catch my interest or I feel guilty enough to do housework and cook dinner).

Truthfully I wish I didn’t have to go to the doctor’s frequently, in fact it is really bothersome. But, as long as I have to go I might as well make it somewhat of an enjoyable experience.

11 November 2009

Dumpster Diving

To all of those who have served, thank you. Happy Veterans Day.

For some reason when I was younger I always preferred playing sports with guys than playing with girls. I wasn’t good at sports but I figured it was better than sitting in the grass and talking. It also helped that I was always really tall for my age. When I was in first grade I was signed up for a city soccer league. There were two choices: play on a girl’s team or play on a co-ed team. I wanted to play with the boys as well so my parents signed me up for co-ed. I was the only girl on my team and I actually don’t remember there being any girls on any of the other teams. However, I was really young so don’t remember too well. My mom didn’t mind since we knew many of the boys on my team and we even knew the coach beforehand.

When I was in the satellite program the guys played football. I had no idea how to play but I liked it and I would just do what everyone else told me. I guess they didn’t mind having me around because, as I said earlier, I was taller than the rest of them.

In Jr. High I played basketball during lunch. There were a lot of girls who watched but I was the only one that played regularly. I think the big reason they let me play was because my friend and I were the ones who started it and we normally brought the ball. I wasn’t bad at shooting but I wasn’t very good at actually playing. I just had fun.

One day I brought my little brother’s basketball so we could play and as we played a new group of kids came. It was fine until they started playing keep away and I couldn’t get the ball. When the bell rang they threw it into the dumpster before they walked off. I knew I had to get the ball back since I had borrowed it from my brother and so when no one else would help me, I set my can of lemonade on the ground and jumped into the dumpster. Luckily everything was bagged. I quickly threw the ball out to a friend that had stayed to make sure that I was okay. As I was trying to get out something shoved me into the lip of the dumpster and I felt a liquid running down my hair. One of the guys thought it would be funny to close the lid on me and when that didn’t work they poured my lemonade on my head. I was thoroughly embarrassed, I had ripped my pants and my hair was a mess. I still don’t know why but I didn’t go home instead I went to my three other classes of the day. Odd really.

I won’t say that I am scarred in fact it is a funny story I use when I have to tell people about me.
“Yeah I went dumpster diving in Jr. High and blah, blah, blah.”

I think it is funny that two years after that someone recognized me as the girl in the dumpster. I was more famous than I thought.

04 November 2009

Two Fast Grades

I am by no means a genius or a prodigy, I just do well in school. After I finished elementary in the satellite program, I attended Jr. High and was once again bored out of my mind. My mom felt bad that I was not challenged and so talked with several people to see what my options were. The conclusion was that I was to change grades. The only issue was I had already started seventh grade and my mom didn’t want me to be bored for the entire year. Once I finished the first semester of seventh grade I was moved into eighth grade.

In my church class I was at least six months younger than everyone else and everyone else was a grade above me which made changing grades nice. I remember the first day of class rather clearly. I went to my new English class, took a seat and watched a little worried as one of the guys from my church class came in and sat down across from me. He stared at me for a second and then came over and politely asked if I was in the right class. I told him yes and he gave a small smile and went back to his seat. I had a couple of other reactions like that but no one really seemed to care that I had changed grades.

My older brother always likes to tell people that I didn’t skip a grade I just did two really fast. Not bad to complete seventh and eighth in one year and move to ninth with everyone else the next year. I am very grateful that I was able to switch because it changed my life for the better. I know that it is somewhat cliché to say that “I wouldn’t be here now if I hadn’t done it.” The nice part is that I like where I am and I don’t have any regrets about changing.

28 October 2009

The Yipiyuk

Since this is my blog I can tell the stories I want, the way I want. As my father always says, “If a story’s worth telling, it’s worth telling well.”

When I was growing up, going out to eat was a big treat for us. My dad received a bonus at work and decided that we should go to a nice restaurant. We had a really nice time together and when we were waiting getting ready to leave my older brother decided he wanted some ice to chew on. He grabbed the pitcher that had very little water but was half full of crushed iced. He picked it up and tipped it towards his glass.

My dad watched and said calmly. “You’re going to get all the ice.”

My brother replied. “I know.”

He tipped it further and all of the ice moved in one big mass out of the pitched and into the glass. The problem was there was too much ice. The column of ice encased the glass, filling it, and scattering across the table. He put the pitcher down quickly and we left the restaurant with the glass surrounded by ice on our table.

My older brother really liked to be spontaneous. The house we grew up in had a basement with a door at the top of the stairs that led into the kitchen. He would wait at the top of the stairs with the door almost closed looking through the crack at people’s socks. When he saw mine he would throw the door open and grab my ankles yelling, “The Yipiyuk will not let go.”

The Yipiyuk
By Shel Silverstein

In the swamplands long ago,
Where the weeds and mudglumps grow,
A Yipiyuk bit on my toe...
Exactly why I do not know.
I kicked and cried
And hollered “Oh”—
The Yipiyuk would not let go.
I whispered to him soft and low—
The Yipiyuk would not let go.
I shouted “Stop,” “Desist” and “Whoa”—
The Yipiyuk would not let go.
Yes, it was sixteen years ago,
The Yipiyuk still won’t let go.
The snow may fall,
The winds may blow—
The Yipiyuk will not let go.
The snow may melt,
The grass may grow—
The Yipiyuk will not let go.
I drag him ‘round each place I go.
This Yipiyuk that won’t let go.
And now my child at last you know
Exactly why I walk so slow.

21 October 2009

Memorable Halloweens

When my little brother was eight he went trick-or-treating with my dad. Our neighborhood is quiet and we know our neighbors well. My dad would stay on the street and wait for my brother to walk up to the houses to get his candy. At one house there was a really neat looking statue on the porch. It was a fish monster with flippers in a wet suit and it would move back and forth. My brother retrieved his candy and walked off of the porch. The fish monster followed him down the steps and when my brother turned around he shrieked at the sight of this monster following him and booked it towards my dad who was standing in the street. The funny thing was they were video taping it so we have a copy of it. The guy’s costume was really good. He had on a full wetsuit and mask and he was standing on an extension cord so it looked like he was plugged in. I would feel bad except a couple of years ago my brother stood on the porch in a dark cloak and scared the kids who came to our house.

I am quite a bit older than my little sister and I liked to take her around trick-or-treating. There was one year that she got quite a bit of candy and we were going to go to one or two more houses before heading home. We were walking on the sidewalk and I noticed a bunch of teenagers coming towards us. I wasn’t sure how I felt to have them trick-or-treating. As we continued the sidewalk became uneven making my sister trip. Her bag fell open causing her to lose quite a bit of candy into the dark bushes. As I was helping her up the teenagers ran over to see if everything was okay. There wasn’t a street lamp near us and my little sister was nearly in tears when she realized she had lost so much of her candy. All five boys took large handfuls of candy from their bags and put them in my sister’s and then after making sure she was really okay went on their way. I am very grateful they were willing to do that.

One of the coolest costumes my mom created was for my older brother many years ago. He decided that he wanted to be Zaphod from “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” My mom made a head to sit on his shoulder that had a had and sunglasses and another arm from a sleeve that she attached so the hand would be in his pocket. I think one person identified the costume and knew about Douglas Adams and the books.

14 October 2009

Stupid Protagonists and their Arch Nemisis

Note: This one is more of a rant than a story and I apologize if that offends anyone. My opinions are rather strong and there are times when what I say now may not be what I want later. Oh well, enough with the disclaimer, on with the show.

I hate stupid.

I hate stupid villains. I really do. I am sick of reading books or watching movies where the villain isn’t really a villain but more of an annoying hindrance. What is the point of the villain if they aren’t going to do something evil? I also hate it when the only reason the villain has for his evil plot is “I hate the world.” That isn’t a reason that is grasping at straws because the writer couldn’t come up with anything better to write. I want a truly smart evil villain that nearly wins because that makes the protagonist that much cooler. Who wants to defeat an idiot who doesn’t even have a good excuse for what he is doing? Who would rather defeat an evil villain who actually thinks he is trying to help save the world and that sacrifices are absolutely necessary?

My husband and I rented a movie last week. Truthfully we were hoping for a comedic light hearted movie but didn’t get it, we rented “Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li.” It was a lot more intense than I thought it was going to be but I enjoyed it once I stopped looking for any humor. I have to say that the villain Bison, was very villainous and evil. I was really impressed with his character overall and was glad that he wasn’t stupid at all. He was actually quite freaky. He knew when it was a liability to have someone around and he didn’t care what it took to reach his goal, which wasn’t destroying the world but trying to make a section of it a better place in his mind. He wasn’t perfect but it was cool.

I hate stupid protagonists. I understand that there are times when a sequel is going to come out so leaving the villain alive is important but I hate it. If the bad guy has killed hundreds of people and is determined to get revenge, why leave him alive? Don’t put him in some “indestructible” cage where he will never be able to escape. Just kill him and come up with another villain for the next installment. The protagonist thinks that he is better than the villain because he respects life. There are times it is absolutely necessary that people die because they are EVIL.

I hate stupid love stories. I like romance where there is a happy ending but I don’t like it when there is an evil character who magically turns to the good side because of love. I like it to be believable, yes even in fantasy/sci-fi. Romance is great as long as it is moderately realistic.

07 October 2009

Stuffed Animals

My younger sister loves animals. She has always loved animals. When my mom would go walking every morning, pushing her in the stroller, my sister whenever she saw a dog would ask the owner for the name. My mom knew everyone by their pet’s name because of that. Not only did my sister love real animals, she loved stuffed animals. She actually would take our stuffed animals and say they were her own, especially if they were dogs. When the local Shopko went out of business my mom purchased several collars since my sister wanted to put them on her animals. Mom found her purse strap missing one day and soon realized my sister had taken any strap she could and attached them to the collars so that she could drag the animals on a walk. My sister’s favorite animal was a large dog who she dubbed “Barky” and the other four dogs (and I think one cat) were aptly named “Barky Two” “ Barky Three” etc.

When I was in high school and going on school trips I always got sick. I don’t know if it was because I wasn’t use to eating out every meal (my family rarely ate out) or the odd hours I kept but it was always miserable the last day coming home. On one of the trips I swiped my sister’s teddy bear because he was soft and just the right size. (I had stuffed animals but none of them were bears or nearly as cuddly.) That year I received a teddy bear for my birthday. I named him Chester and my sister was happy when I took him on the trips instead.

When my little brother broke his ankle he was miserable for several days and I ended up loaning Chester to him since he wanted something to hold. My little sister decided that it was time he had a teddy bear as well and the two of us managed to find a cute one. He ended up naming Touchstone since we saw “As You Like It” that year at the Shakespeare Festival. It was exciting for him to sit in an aisle seat and have his leg propped up on a little camping stool and wince as the actors ran up and down the aisles during the play.

30 September 2009

Reason for Road Reflectors

Did you know that there is a purpose to the little stick reflectors on the shoulder of the road? I always assumed they were more useful than counting them when I was bored as a child but I never actually realized how useful they are.

Several years ago my roommate/best friend and I decided we wanted to take a road trip during spring break. Since I was working most of the week we knew it had to be a fast trip so we decided to go see Oregon. I had never been to Oregon before and my friend told me that it was beautiful so we hopped in her car Thursday after I finished work and headed North. We didn’t have any reservations for sleeping and thought we could just pull off somewhere each night and sleep in the car with the sleeping bags we brought. As we were driving into La Grande it started to snow so we decided that a hotel wouldn’t be a bad idea after all.

The next day when we woke there were several inches of snow and we were dodging chains that had fallen off of the trucks in the road. My roommate drove all day as we saw (sort of) Mt. St. Helens and Portland. When we got to the coast my roommate had me drive over the bridge to Astoria because she wanted me to see it but didn’t like the idea of driving that close to the water. That night we were heading to Tillamook to sleep because she thought it would be fun to see the factory there. Since it was dark when we crossed over to Astoria I had no idea what the road was like along Highway 101.

I have driven canyon roads before and been fine at going 50 mph, on this road I was going 30 mph and still feeling nervous. There was a light rain and a little fog and as I made my way along the road cars would come flying out of nowhere with their high beams still on making it impossible to see the road for several seconds. I couldn’t see the road even when there wasn’t on-coming traffic and the only reason I knew when to turn was when there would be a reflector directly in front of me. I realized that I could look for the small patches of light to see which way the road was turning as I drove. My roommate helped look for them as well and we eventually made it to Tillamook. I didn’t realize how frightened I had been until I woke up the next morning and found that my jaw was sore from clenching my teeth. I am glad that I didn’t know how narrow of a shoulder there was on that road (before the long drop-off) that would have just made it that more terrifying.

Overall the trip was a lot of fun with lots of fond memories as we drove over 1,700 miles in three days.

23 September 2009

Imaginary Friends

When I was in third grade my parents banned us from playing the computer or watching television on school nights. I have always been grateful that they did. (My husband already knows that when we have kids we will have the same rule.) During the summer we were limited to an hour a day so we had to find other activities to pass the time.

One of my favorite books is The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley. So one day my friends and I decided to reenact the story. Our back yard wasn’t very big but we had a large silver maple and an apple tree that were great to climb. Because my brother and I were the only ones that read it we told everyone else what happened and what characters there were. We spent hours fighting each other with apple branches in the back yard and honing our “fencing” skills. A lot of bloody knuckles and bruised fingers occurred but since none of us were really trying to hurt the other person we didn’t care. When we got tired of that story we would make up our own stories to play, normally involving dragons of some kind. Soon we were playing the make believe at everyone’s houses. One of the houses was having the basement finished so we pretended the studs for the walls were prison cells. Our bikes became our horses as we would race up and down the street. We probably got a lot of strange looks from the neighbors because my front yard was normally a desert that we were crawling through begging for water.

When I changed elementary schools I also changed schedules so I had a lot of free time on my hands. I decided that I could make my own stories and enact them. I had three years of spending time by myself and playing stories through my head. I would spend hours in the backyard by myself running around seeing my own story play out how I wanted it to. I guess there is little wonder why I wanted to become an author. With all the stories still running through my head, it is a little more difficult to act them out so now I content myself with writing them down although it isn’t nearly as fun.

16 September 2009

Disasters with Cakes

I like to cook. I am not always very good at cooking and sometimes my cooking experiments go awry. When I was in junior high and high school I really developed a love for baking so it became my job to make desserts for family dinner and I received a cake decorating kit for my birthday I started experimenting a lot with cakes.

As everyone knows, chocolate cake with chocolate frosting is the best kind of cake. So for my first attempt at decorating a cake I made a chocolate cake and frosted it with chocolate frosting. I made extra frosting so I could use the cool little tips to make flowers and pretty pictures. The only problem, I discovered, is that making brown frosting a different color is rather difficult and the results are often unappealing. The only color I could make was some strange green color so I looked at the brown and green frosting and promptly wrote “camouflage” across the top since that was what the colors reminded me of. The cake tasted fine but my mother was a little disturbed at eating a cake that had sickly green frosting that tasted chocolaty.

My cakes became pretty extravagant, although my decorating never really improved, unless you count using white frosting as a base for colors. I made layered cakes (sometimes one layer would be chocolate and the other yellow). I made marbled cakes. I made layered marbled cakes. I tried a couple of times with a bunt pan but decided that it was too big of a hassle. I had the standard cake recipe memorized and could change ingredients around to make what I wanted and I was pretty impressed with my mad cake baking skills.

My older brother was always excited when he saw the large cylinder Tupperware on the counter because that normally meant there was a cake underneath it. I had been watching my younger siblings one night and my brother came home from work and ran into the kitchen because he saw the Tupperware. He picked it up excitedly and stared at the pile of crumbs that I had drizzled runny frosting over. He looked at me in confusion. I was completely embarrassed that my evening’s attempt had turned out so horrible. I replied hotly “Don’t ask. I. Don’t. Care.” The cake tasted fine but I think it was easier to eat with a spoon than a fork and we used it as ice cream topper a couple of times.

I haven’t learned. I still experiment. Now I am into marshmallows and peanut butter variations of cakes and brownies. My husband happily eats everything I cook (but with how much Tabasco he puts on stuff I don’t think he actually tastes some meals). I am grateful though because there have been a couple of times that I won’t eat what I cook. However, the day I make a cake that he puts Tabasco on is the day I know I have truly failed.

09 September 2009

I'm an Armadillo (090909)

My older siblings are a foot apart. My older sister is five four while my older brother is six four, however, this never stopped my sister from reminding my brother that she was still older and tougher than he was.

I was playing with some of my friends in the back yard one day when my brother and his friend, who is about the same height as my brother, came tearing out of the house. They looked around and my brother’s friend ran to the little three foot fence by the side of the house and jumped over it. My older sister at this point came out of the house looking for my brother. My brother looked helplessly between his friend and my sister. With nothing left to do he fell to the ground and curled up in a ball, all the time yelling "I'm an armadillo. I'm an armadillo." My sister, walking closer to get retribution of some kind, looked at him and burst out laughing at the sight of him rolling on the grass stating over and over that he was an armadillo. I still don’t know why he didn’t jump the little fence like his friend. They were both over six feet and it shouldn’t have been too difficult. My brother states that jumping over the fence wasn’t needed because what he did kept my sister from doing anything.

I have never considered myself tall since I am the third shortest of seven in my family. I did learn quickly that I might not be tall in my family but I was certainly tall compared to other families. I was at a friend’s house one evening and was headed down the stairs to their basement. My two friends decided to race each other down the stairs so I jumped to get out of their way. I didn’t think about the fact that their ceilings were lower than my families, especially going down the stairs. I managed to hit the corner of the ceiling with my head. All I remember is finding myself sitting at the bottom of their stairs while my two friends were panicked at the fact I was bleeding. I had so many endorphins that I didn’t care what was going on. I had to get six stitches (I think that was the number) in my head and I remember being glad that they didn’t have to shave any hair off.

02 September 2009

Problems with Age

My husband and I have the same problem but in different forms. People usually think that I am older than I actually am and my husband is thought to be younger than he is. There are days I wonder how people see us as we walk around together.

I have a sister that is eleven years younger than I am. I was really excited when she was born because I was actually old enough to care about what was going on. Since I went to a different elementary than everyone else in my neighborhood I often had days when I was out of school and no one else was. A couple of months after my sister was born, I was helping my mom shop one day, everyone else was in school, and I was holding my little sister so my mom could do what she needed to. The store clerk came up and smiled as he turned to my mother. “You must really enjoy having a granddaughter around.” My mother shook her head and replied. “Actually, they are both my daughters.” The clerk quickly excused himself.

My husband has recently started going to college after a midlife crisis at twenty four. I am cheap and have us ride the bus to work and school since I don’t want to pay for gas or car repairs. We live a couple of blocks from the high school. On my husbands twenty fifth birthday he was calmly waiting for the bus at nine in the morning when a cop pulled up to the stop. He asked why my husband wasn’t in school. My husband told him that he wasn’t in high school but was waiting for the bus to go up to the university. The cop then asked to see my husband’s driver’s license, which after my husband gave to him, he called in to make sure that it wasn’t fake. The cop finally realized that my husband really was as old as he said and handed him back his license.

26 August 2009

Broken Bones and Bunk-beds

My older sister and I shared a room when we were younger. For a while our beds were side by side but they could also be stacked as bunk-beds. Both my sister and I have very vivid dreams and they occasionally wake us up in cold sweats. I always wondered why my older sister could seem to fall back asleep more easily than I could. She admitted to me once that she always told herself that if there was a monster under the bed it would eat me first, since I slept on the bottom bunk, and would leave her alone. I am kind of glad I didn’t know that when we were younger.

My younger brother had a run of rotten luck for several summers. He always managed to break a bone within the first couple of weeks of summer break. He broke his arm by falling off of his scooter, tipping his bike over, and tripping playing soccer by himself. He even managed to break his ankle joint by stepping backwards wrong. The odd thing is that the only time he went to the hospital the day he broke his bone was when he broke his ankle joint. We knew something was terribly wrong when he curled up into a ball and refused to even think about putting his weight on his foot. All the other times he broke a bone it would take several days for us to realize that it was broken. He would mow the lawn, play basketball, and other such physical activities.

When I was in college there were two years where I slept on the top of a bunk-bed. I never minded sleeping on the top, I was always several inches taller than my roommates and it was easier for me to get onto the top bunk. The only problem was that the ladder was designed poorly and it was nearly impossible to use if you wanted to actually get into bed. I would use a chair and jump from the chair into bed.

There was one evening where my roommate had already gone to bed and I didn’t want to disturb her so I tried to quietly get into bed. I didn’t have enough umph to actually get into bed so I came back down and tried to land on the chair. I landed funny and tipped the chair over. My feet got tangled up in the rungs and I nearly fell over. I decided that was a sign to stay up later and went to the living room to talk with my roommate that was still up. In the morning I noticed that my foot was bruised but it didn’t really hurt so I ignored it.

Spring Break started the next week and I ended up playing volleyball for several hours and I walked to my work more often. My roommate was concerned since my foot was now yellow and purple. I agreed to go to the doctors, but was so stubborn I walked the mile to the doctors and then the two miles to the hospital to get it x-rayed. I finally had to admit that my foot was actually broken. I was given a walking cast but I always took it off at eleven at night because I figured if I had walked on it for a week then it wouldn’t matter if I didn’t have the cast on the whole day.

19 August 2009


My family moved when I was in elementary. I don’t have too many memories from before the move but I remember second grade math. (I know that is something most people try to forget.) The elementary I attended was trying a new approach to math. We were self paced and there were parents that would come in and help us when we needed. That way the children who caught on quickly didn’t get bored and those who needed a little more time could have it. I loved it

When I started at the new school in third grade I was disappointed to learn that I could no longer go at my own pace in math. I was often bored and occasionally was told not to go ahead of the rest of the class. My mother decided that if I was bored that something needed to be done. She learned about a Satellite program for “gifted” children. Ha! I didn’t consider myself gifted but I figured that I didn’t want to be bored. I had to take a lot of tests before I could even take the entrance exam.

The first portion of the entrance exam was a personality test. I knew one other person taking the test and she was really nice. We sat next to each other and when we took the test I figured that her personality was better than mine. So for only that portion of the test I copied her answers. For the rest of the test I was content to answer the questions myself. I don’t think I had a high self esteem as a child either that or I thought really highly of my friend.

Overall the program was a lot of fun and I am glad I did it. I had a lot of opportunities that I wouldn’t have had before. I still don’t consider myself gifted. I just do well in a typical school setting and I have always enjoyed learning.

12 August 2009

Hitting Brothers

As a family we all got along really well. There were only a few times when we would really have problems. My older brother and I were going at it one day. My dad was frustrated, so he pulled both of us into the house and sat us down on stools across from each other. He turned to my brother and asked if my brother was mad at me. My brother said he was. My dad replied. “Okay, hit her.” My brother, the eternal gentleman, said no. My dad shrugged and turned to me. “Hit him.” I happily obliged which startled my brother. My brother figured since he had been nice to me that I wouldn’t hit him. Apparently he was wrong.

When we grew up, we gave ourselves excuses to hit each other. We would play Robin Hood in our back yard using sticks as swords and staffs to mock battle. By that time, however, we really were sorry when we would bloody each other’s knuckles or knees.

05 August 2009


As I was getting ready this morning, an experience from my childhood came to mind. (This biggest complaint about my childhood was I had to put up with myself. There are days I wonder why my siblings didn't tease me more since I always had a good reaction.)

When I was in junior high, or younger (I am not sure about my age), my older sister was trying to round up the rest of the kids and herd us all to the van to go somewhere. Back then she often called everyone 'bucko.' So as she called for us 'buckos' to come to the van, I decided to be a pain. I proudly retorted. 'I'm not a buck-o, I'm a buck-et.' I really didn't think before I spoke. (There are days I still don’t think before speaking as my husband can tell you.) It took a while for that self-proclaimed nickname to be forgotten.