Thursday, January 17, 2008
Happy Lee-Jackson Day!
A day early. It is the proud tradition in the Commonwealth of Virginia to celebrate Lee-Jackson Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a four-day weekend for state employees. Hope all you slackers enjoy your day off tomorrow!
Dear Uncle B:
If I do not receive some birthday ideas for you soon then it will be Jelly of the Month Club for you.
Snowy Day
We got 5-6 inches today, which figures (pity party ahead) because tomorrow I planned to go see Noni and Popi for the first time since New Year's Eve. It snowed fast and furious all morning and into early afternoon. I shoveled the walk at work five or six time. All morning I was hoping that we'd get to go home early. By the afternoon I was told I could go home but decided to stay anyway. M had said that when he came back from lunch he was going to bring the sled and go pick up Emma from Mary's so they could do some sledding around town. I didn't want to spoil their fun.

It turns out staying the whole day was the wisest choice. By the time we drove home the roads were pretty clear. We went out with the camera to take some pictures. I learned that I had to be a mile away from my subject to get it all in my telephoto lens. We walked the mile back to the house and switched lenses.

We had a good time until Emma face planted into the snow on the slide. Then the fun and games were over.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Reflections on the nice series
It's done. Please don't be a stranger now that I've stopped talking about people. I'm pretty sure not everyone has seen the nice things that were written about them. Which is kind of ironic, because if I'd written something nasty about someone they would have gotten an email about it in thirty seconds flat.

I've enjoyed reflecting on the folks on my blogroll and putting into words what I like about them. I hope they've enjoyed being singled out for praise. What I've come to realize is how seldom this sort of thing happens. It's like it costs people money to say something nice about someone. It really doesn't. What you give does come back to you.

I know many of you have taken the opportunity to check out the blogs I've spoken about. Unfortunately several of the bloggers are sporatic posters at best. I've learned that it drives me a little less crazy if I use Google Reader to keep up with my blogs. It cuts down on lots of pointless clicking.

Now, if my blog hits fall off to nothing after this series has ended I might be forced to come back with an "Annoying things about the people on my blogroll" series.

I keed, I keed. ;) All of you are such saints that I wouldn't be able to come up with a negative thing to say. (She wrote, while trying to maintain a straight face)

P. S. If you need a boost and want to come back and see the series again it is listed under the "nice series" tag on the right of the page.
Nice thing about my blogroll buddies, part 9
DJ of Texas Happenings is a mommy of two lovely girls. If the mommy board were school DJ would be class president. Everyone wants to meet DJ. People like her because she's sweet and effusive and supportive, but she's not saccharine sweet. She's got a raunchy sense of humor and is a girl's girl. Her interests include power shopping, so we have that in common. She's a great model for good health for us all; she's lost over 50 lbs. and is firmly dedicated to reaching her goals. She even gets up at 4:30 a.m. to go to the gym! She's one of those infernal Democrats, but she's one who can take the teasing and give it right back. Me likey that. DJ has amazing strength which she recently had to tap into. Her youngest, who we call Neener, was discovered to have a heart condition at the age of one. Because it had been undetected she had already gone into congestive heart failure when it was found. Surgery was scheduled post haste and I can tell you with complete and utter honesty that those weeks waiting for surgery dogged us all. I personally felt a constant sense of dread and fear for sweet little Neener. We waited on pins and needles when the day of surgery finally arrived. The good news is that Neener made it through the surgery successfully, not without drama, but the prognosis is good. Pretty soon we'll be watching her sitting alongside DJ and Jessica for their regular mani/pedi.

Katherine of Travelin' Texans is mommy to two girls and lives in...California. They do travel a lot though. She recently showed us her itenerary for summer vacation and it lasts five weeks and takes her family all over the place. Katherine is a devoted stay-at-home mom. She is one of those mommies who is great at keeping her kids stimulated and entertained. They are always baking or doing creative projects together. I think Katherine would be a fabulous person to have as a friend or neighbor because she's really friendly and sociable. She makes fast friends wherever her family moves. She and her husband are always helping out others and reaching out to people who may have needs that they can help with. She's a great role model for her girls.

Jeanne of World of a Cuban Wife is the mommy of two girls (Two girls seems to be the thing today). She lives in Florida and hates, hates, hates hurricanes, but we can't convince her to move. Her first daughter, Lexi, was born in a hurricane. Lexi was born with hip dysplasia but despite Jeanne dogging the doctors over the problem, she wasn't diagnosed until many months later. Lexi had to go through the long months in the cast in the Florida heat. It was pretty traumatic for everyone. Jeanne also has a sister with severe health problems who lives in her home. It seems like Jeanne has everyone to take care of. She is a strong, strong lady and manages to do it all, despite the severe lack of time. That's not to say she's thrilled about it. She'd love to have more help, like anyone would. Jeanne is very devoted to her close friends and is a good one to have at your back. She's as honest as the day is long and you can trust her with anything. Jeanne is a devoted mama bear who would do anything for her girls. Which is a good thing, because she is called on to do plenty! ;)


Snowy day
When we got home from work she spent about twenty minutes playing out there in 20 degree weather. I finally had to call her to come in. Crazy girl.

"Mommy, look at my Christmas tree!"
That's what she called it. "...with all the pretty colors!"

Believe me, I'd rather her be doing that, than painting her dress with markers, which is what she did last week. She was so proud to show me.

Nice things about my blogroll buddies, part 8
Allison of Snippets from Suburbia is one of those hardiest of humans, a middle school teacher. She's currently on a long hiatus while she's raising her two young daughters. I used to call her daughter, Avery, Emma's west coast doppleganger, but they've outgrown that phase. Allison is very intelligent and has a finely tuned BS sensor. She'll call you on it, too! She's a very creative and imaginative photographer. She's primarily responsible for my camera envy which led me to upgrade to my Rebel. Unfortunately an upgrade didn't buy me talent, time or a place to take pictures ;) Since Allison's blog link isn't working I'll link you to her Flickr page. You can see her talent on display there. She's also very good at web design and is a "go to" person when you need help with your blog. Allison has an oddball sense of humor, which endears her to me all the more. She's one of the few online friends that I've been privileged to meet.

Misty of Stuck in Texas is a mommy to three girls, in...uh...Texas. She's one of the newest bloggers on my blogroll and I'm proud to say she even blogs regularly! She's a talented seamstress and designs and sells children's clothing. She also does amazing diaper cakes. We've put her to work on our behalf several times now. Misty is a dedicated family person; she tries so hard to keep her extended family updated with her kid's activities. I really enjoyed her Christmas ornament series on her blog, even though I forgot to comment. Misty is one of those experienced mamas we look to for advice because she has an older girl. She's always very supportive and helpful.

Leslie of Sugar and Spice is a stay-at-home mommy of three girls who lives in Massachusetts. So I'd say there's lots of sugar and not so much spice. Leslie has a really great sense of humor and an entertaining way of looking at the world. Leslie's middle child is Emma's age. That means she has an older daughter who can give me a preview of what's coming in our future. Leslie's husband is a firefighter so her girls have a privileged look at life in the firehouse, a world most kids revere. Leslie is a very loving and dedicated mommy. She's not afraid to let her kids explore and make a huge mess. Her girls are really lucky to have someone so cool for a mom. Which of course they won't appreciate until they're thirty.


Monday, January 14, 2008
Nice things about my blogroll buddies, part 7
B of Relaxed Alert is a mommy of two boys and teaches grade school in Massachusetts. I found her a couple of years ago when our little blog group bumped into her group of blogging friends. When I started reading she had been a widow for one year. Her husband had been stricken with an illness and died within days. She was pregnant with her second son when he died. Through her powerful writing she has grieved and ranted and come to terms with being a single mother, something that was never meant to be. She learned to cope with the loneliness and worked hard to preserve the memory of her husband for her boys. We cheered for her when she started dating again. B has shown an amazing strength and resilience through it all. She always seems full of hope for the future, knowing that she is living for her husband, as well as herself.

Heather of Roff Boy's World is a stay-at-home mommy of three boys and lives in California. Heather is a caring mama and great support to her friends. She always has good advice and ideas for those of us with younger kids. She has an addiction to strollers and is always trying out new products for her kids. She gives us the skinny on whether or not to spend our money. Her boys have model good looks and have been betrothed to many girlies on our mommy board. She's always coming up with activities for her boys and sharing their adventures with us.

Erin of Ruler of the Elves has a beautiful daughter Emma's age. We like to describe Erin as cute and spunky. She'd like to kick our butts for that crack ;) She's a big Buckeyes fan and loves to taunt all of those from "lesser" schools. Since I've known her she's gone from a stay-at-home mom to earning her real estate license. She's already selling homes and bringing in the big bucks. I admire her drive. She's also taken up photography as a hobby and takes some terrific pictures. I think she has a particular talent for working with light. She does awesome graphic designs and has been offered more big bucks for that work. She's a funny gal who will say just about anything and no party seems complete without her there. Girlfriend, where you been?


Sorry, no pics of Emma
My daughter has developed a penchant for stripping down to her panties when she comes home in the evening. It used to be just the shoes had to come off. Then it was the shoes and socks. Now the pants have to come off too. Unfortunately that prohibits photo opportunities for general distribution.

BTW, she gets that from her father.
Marrying a handyman vs. a metrosexual
A metrosexual can help you shop for the furniture you need to store the toys in your little princess's room. When you've searched the world over and can't find a shelf that suits, a handyman can build you a custom one. Woo hoo!

lolcats - u haz dem?
I've mentioned before that I'm not a big fan of cats. Could have something to do with my allergies. Despite that fact we own one. I'm not blind. I do have some appreciation for the cuteness of a kitten. But on the whole cats are not something I'm very interested in.

Which makes my recent fascination with lolcats all the weirder. For those of you who don't know, lolcats are a full-blown internet phenomenon. All it amounts to is people taking pictures of cats and applying funny captions with bad grammar. Ta da! Wikipedia explains it here. But the more of them I see, the funnier they are. usually has a thread every Saturday devoted to captioning blanks. It's called the Caturday thread, natch. You can also see a whole collection of them at I Can Has Cheezburger?

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Funny Pictures
moar funny pictures

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

funny pictures
moar funny pictures
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Gettin' me some culcha
I attended a program given by the local historical society this week. It was really interesting and entertaining and I'm glad I didn't miss it. The librarian of special collections at the state library brought rare books to share with us. He told us that if some of the things he showed us didn't give us a tingle then we must be dead. He was right, from the very first book. He'd give us a little story about the book and then came "the reveal." The first book was a book of common prayer which in itself wasn't so rare; there are a lot of old ones. It just so happened that the one he was holding had come over on the Mayflower. And traveled back to England again, where it was purchased at auction years later.

Next he showed us two books from Thomas Jefferson's collection. He showed us the special way that Jefferson would mark his books as his property. Next he showed us two books that belonged to Patrick Henry ("Give me liberty or give me death!"). He actually passed those around. Pretty cool. We were supposed to "feel the power." Ha! He showed us a book that was published by the VA School for the Deaf and Blind back in 1851. It had raised type. It wasn't braille, it was our regular alphabet, just embossed instead of printed. He showed us a book, the publication of which resulted in the burning at the stake for the author, by John Calvin no less. Finally, he showed us several miniature books and gave us information on online resources so we could see the local records that the state library holds in digital format.

I enjoy history and have been to most of the historical places of significance in Virginia: Jamestown, Williamsburg, Monticello, Mount Vernon, the capitol and various battlefields around the state. To actually be able to touch and leaf through books that belonged to founding fathers was pretty awesome.
Nice things about my blogroll buddies, part 6
Shawnie of My Life and All That Goes With It is a walking contradiction. She has a heart three sizes too big. She's the first one to open her wallet for someone in need. She's most often the one who will organize everyone to go together and buy a gift for someone else on a special occasion. She's a soft touch for a sad tale. On the other hand, she has zero tolerance for bullshit and a whiff of hypocrisy will send her over the edge. I often joke with her that she's the bad cop to my good cop. She laughs. She has a daughter, Chayleigh, who was born with a form of hip dysplasia and had a very rough time of it for her first year. Shawnie would do absolutely anything for that little girl. Fortunately for me, Chayleigh and Emma are close in size so I've been the beneficiary of some hand-me-downs on occasion. Shawnie is very supportive of all her friends and doesn't miss an opportunity to encourage someone or offer them a shoulder to cry on. She's super-easy to talk to and cracks me up on a regular basis. She lives in Idaho so the chances of me bumping into her are not so good. But she loooooves potato jokes so be sure and leave your best ones in her comments ;)

Jennifer of My Sleepless Life is another model of quiet strength. I read her blog and want to give her a big hug. She really pours her heart out in her posts. She has gone through a very difficult year, giving birth to her second son and having to work her butt off to support her family. She deals with the same issues a lot of us moms deal with: isolation, depression and feeling like everything is on you, all the time. She's a very sweet person and has an amazing work ethic. I think she'd be successful in any field she chose, but she chose to be a nurse, a job which suits her talents well. I can imagine that she is a bright spot in any patient's day and would treat everyone like an individual, with care and compassion. If you were going to adopt one new blog from this series I'd encourage you to chose hers. It would be nice for her to have some encouragement and pats on the back for all she does.

Angie of Nice Mommy, Evil Editor is the mommy of a beautiful girl, Brianna, who is Emma's age. I met Angie on the mommy board, but she has since moved on and is now concentrating hard on her career. And boy has her career taken off! She is now the Chief Editor of an e-publishing company called Samhain Publishing. She works, works, works, and works some more. But she blogs too. I enjoy her blog for the insider's look at the editing field. She used to do Teaching Tuesdays, which I really enjoyed. I try not to let it bug me too much that everything I post here is going to be read by an editor ;) Angie is smart and she's a natural leader. She's a go-getter who makes things happen instead of being more like me, "let's see what happens." She's super frugal and used to be the master of getting a lot for a little. She was so adept at using coupons that grocery stores were practically paying her for her groceries. She's always very resourceful and quick with the links when people are researching topics she's familiar with. I've enjoyed her success over the last few years, even though it has nothing to do with me. It's been fun to watch.