Saturday, May 31, 2008

My First Niece

Renee & Brooke, Denver May 2008

I was not quite 20 when I got the phone call that my first niece had been born to my sister, Renee. I was so excited! She was my first real experience with a baby, if you'll believe it!

Through the years I don't know what kind of example I've been to her but hope that when she's old enough to form her own opinions about the "grownups" in her life, she'll like me as a person.

She went with my sister and me on our recent trip to Denver and it was a great trip. I enjoyed her so much! It made me excited to have a teenager of my own. If she weren't so weirded out by my and my sister's quirky behaviors when we're together, she might have had a good time!

I could tell that she wanted to cut loose with us though - every now and then I saw the glint in her eye!

Between that trip and today's birthday party, I managed to catch an elusive smile. The one I got Denver is beautiful - she's a beautiful girl, and her mom is too so we know where she gets it. The smile I got today was accidental...and perfect.

It'll Do...

because there's only 15 minutes to spare, and we're off to the party!
Do you even realize how much those little candies from the original picture cost? For a 5 lb bag it was $32! This ain't no wedding cake, folks. I opted out for Strawberry Whoppers which I like to eat more anyway (the others were dark chocolate mints, blech!)

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Mission

Tomorrow is the friends' birthday party for SP. She's requested the above cake (this isn't the one I've made - just a pic). I've done other cakes for her in past years including the following so I'm not necessarily scared. I just always get nervous because I've only got one shot at it - and screwing up is so easy. I better get to work!

1st Birthday
(I actually made 2 of these: one for guests, and one for her to smash in her face)

2nd Birthday

3rd Birthday

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Four at Last!

Photo credits to Kelly.

SP has been waiting for this day for SOOOO long! She's not been able to talk about anything else for weeks!

She's finally 4! And today, we're taking her and her BFF to the Children's Museum. Then we're doing a little family party tonight but her "real" party is Saturday.

Why do years go by so fast as adults, and so slow as children? Her birth is still emblazoned in mind like it was yesterday!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Your Obituary

A number of years ago I had mortality worries - not like I was going to die but just being as prepared for it as one can be.

I typed up important information (financial, personal etc.) so that DH or my sister wouldn't have to search around too hard to put things in order.

At the same time I also outlined my burial requests including the funeral (no open-casket: eww), organ donation etc. I even made some requests about songs, speakers etc. Hmm. Looking at this is making me sound really morbid. But I like to be prepared, that's my style and I'm comfortable with it even if others aren't (which truly DH wasn't when I told him about it).

I put a copy of all of this in our safe deposit box. I can't remember all that I wrote only that it probably needs to be updated for several reasons. I think I even sort of wrote my obituary.

But you know how at funerals people get all sappy and tell a bunch of lies about how positively terrific a person was? Even if you truly loved someone, they still were only human. Well, I want the TRUTH told at my funeral. I want people to know I was grouchy in the morning and irritable if I don't get my way...but that I tried hard to be a good, honest person.

What's the most important thing you'd have said in your obituary or at your funeral?

Monday, May 26, 2008

That Was Stupid

Have you ever been blog-surfing along and found something interesting only to forget to bookmark it. Despite your searching, you can't find it again?

That's me today.

I'm embarrassed to tell you what exactly I found interesting but I truly hope that whoever's blog it was, is reading this post and will comment so I can go back.

I found a blog that was talking about a great high protein/fiber bean soup. She gave the recipe and I tried it today. It was DELICIOUS...yeah, bean soup. Who'd have guessed? I've been trying to greatly increase the amount of protein (and less fat) I'm taking in so this post was very interesting to me.

Here's the recipe in case anyone's interested (most of this is verbatim from this lady's blog - so sorry nice lady):

Bean & Hamburger Soup

1.5 pounds 90/10 ground beef
16 oz bag Goya 16 Bean Soup Mix
3 stalks celery
1 sweet onion
10 oz baby carrots
6 cups water

makes approx. 12 1+ cup servings

• soak beans overnight in 4 cups water, rinse
• chop celery and onion

• in a really big pot, combine beans, celery, onion, carrots, water, and crumble raw ground beef on top, cover, bring to boil, stir, simmer for 1+ hour or until beans are tender.

Probably the most impressive part of it all is the nutrition info. Granted, it’s not necessary to only eat a cup serving, but I just broke it down that way for ease of calculating the following nutrition figures:

Nutrition Info.
251 total calories
45 calories from fat
5g fat
2.25g saturated fat
35mg cholesterol
152mg sodium
220mg potassium
31g carbohydrates
16g fiber
4g sugar
20.5g protein

Personally, I added some more flavor to it: Spiced with about 5 garlic cloves, 1 very large onion, red cayenne pepper, about 3 tsp of salt, 1 tbsp chili pepper, 1 tbsp cilantro, and about 1 tbsp louisianna hot sauce.

Oh my! Not only did my house smell divine while this was cooking, it tasted so great! Not to mention how few carbs & how high in protein and fiber (low in fat) it was. I think it made enough to last for a week's worth of lunches!

Anyway, if whomever's blog this showed up on is reading this blog, I just wanted to thank you and let you know how I improved its flavor because you said it lacked in flavor just a bit. Thanks!

At Long Last

...I won't have to schlep my groggy head down the hallway bathroom in the middle of the night. My new toilet is installed! I know this news means nothing to you but you've no idea how my day is altogether brighter because of it!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Can't Get Over This Weather

On this day for the past three years, we have had our daughter's birthday party in our backyard. We usually spend the week prior getting the yard in shape and cleaned up. By this time, the pool's usually warm enough to "consider" swimming in, and it's usually so hot that sweaters have been relegated to the back of the closet.

This year, we did not have SP's party in our yard but instead are having it next Saturday at an actual party place, per her request. So we didn't have the clean-fest we normally do which is actually unfortunate. Since we do the party and spend so much time getting ready for it so early in the summer, it's done and we can spend the rest of the summer maintaining and enjoying.

But, since the weather hasn't been great AND no party, there's been no reason to push to get it all done and so, our garden wasn't even planted until today, nor most of the flower beds cleaned up and planted.

The front yard...well, you know the story but at least I got a lot done in the backyard today. I planted A LOT of perennials today so to avoid having to do a complete overhaul every Spring. I'm anxious now for next year to see what it will all look like from early Spring on. I think perennials are exciting!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Is Organization Hereditary

Or should I just be worried about OCD...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I Had A Bad Day

I actually had a bunch of emails yesterday (and/or comments) inquiring if yesterday's post was meant to refer to them.

Alright. I'm really sorry! I mean it!

That post actually wasn't meant toward anybody. It was a collective frustration that really wasn't even about that issue even. I mean, I was having a really bad day that was the culmination of a really weird weekend and I let my mind wander too much on poor, pitiful me.

Truth is folks, I have great friends. I have friends of every kind. Some call, some don't. Some write me letters, some text or send emails. Some I know well enough that I can talk to them once a year and it's totally cool - and some I live just houses away and don't often see...and that's cool too. It's all good because each of these relationships have their own "rules" or agreements. We know what's expected and we can be friends in whatever way we've chosen because well, because we're friends!

So, to each and everyone of them that worried about who I was referring to, I'm sorry. I'd be ungrateful if I were to be critical about any one of my friends' flaws because they certainly haven't been critical of mine.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Is It Just Me Or...


Do you have a friend who just doesn't call you? Professes to be your great friend but then just will not pick up the phone?

And then you, on the other hand, possess lots of guilt for not calling them more (even if you're not that great at calling either). But the guilt is mainly because you realize that you don't talk to them much and then worry it's because you don't call them - only to figure out later that it's also due to the fact that they're not picking up the phone either?

You go through your caller ID and realize it's been like a month since they've even called your house?

And so...what do you do? Do you keep up the charade? Do you just accept the fact that you know they are your friend but just not good at making phone calls? Or do you just throw in the towel, realizing that the efforts you are making aren't being reciprocated and that effort is just making you bitter?

I've done both. But have never felt good about either decision. And am now faced with it again, and am sitting on the fence...maybe too long. What do you do?

Monday, May 19, 2008

A "Real" Haircut

I took scissors to SP's hair today and trimmed an inch off the bottom. But she was mad and of the opinion that short was the way to go. She said, "I want it short, like yours" as she took a chunk of my bangs in her fingers.

I tried to talk her out of it knowing that short hair is more work for me and she has little patience for a quick pony in the back anyway. But, she is on the cusp of 4 and perfectly capable of deciding how she wants her hair.

So we went to a new place in town that specializes in kids' cuts. It was cute and they did a great job. She seems so grown up with a true bob (doesn't she?). Good thing only last week we took some good pictures of her with her long hair. It was halfway down her back and beautiful.

I guess it's her hair, and short of dying it green and mohawking it, she can do as she pleases.

Unexpected Weekend

Sorry to be away for so long. Being such a regular blogger, it feels weird not to post for 1 day, not to mention 5.

I found out early on Friday morning that my dad was in the hospital, his appendix having ruptured spilling gunk into his guts which evidently was infected. He had surgery and was in recovery, it having turned out to be a little more extensive procedure than originally anticipated.

Since flights were over $300 a person, and driving to Denver from Salt Lake has always been a more financially prudent decision (given one has the time to spend - 8 hrs), my sister and I rented a tiny little gas-conserving car and were on the road by Friday afternoon.

We spent all of Saturday at the hospital practically taking over all aspects of his care except for dispensing his meds. I was in charge of his rehab, and my sister (who is in nursing school) took over his food in-take, oxygen stats and physical comfort. By the end of the day, he was up walking around, had a bath and was on the road to recovery.

Sunday morning, he was feeling pretty sore and sort of nauseous but feeling a lot back to his old self. We stayed awhile until we were sure he was alright and then decided it was time to go.

We drove by the house we lived in when I lived there years ago, my old high school and some of my haunts from about 16 years ago. It was nice to see them but they didn't feel like home anymore so I pointed the car west and headed toward my family.

I'm glad my dad's going to be alright and I'm very happy to be home.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Me and Dogs

At the risk of alienating all of my dog-loving readers, I'm just going to lay it out there for you, folks. I'm not a dog lover. There. I said it.

And it's not even like I've never given then an honest try. I had a lab when I was a teenager. I was even the sucker who brought the runt home. She was a sweet little thing, and I did love her. She's in heaven now.

I even had a Dobie when I was a young-adult (married to The Cowboy). But we had a small house and he was a puppy and he chewed on anything in sight and had the smelliest farts ever! He was precious but well, just not my cup of tea.

Since I've gotten older, I've come to dis-appreciate dogs in a whole new light. Why is it everywhere we move, we've got some completely deaf neighbor who owns a dog and refuses to bring the dog in when it barks incessantly all of the time? I mean, PLEASE people! If you absolutely must own a dog, open your freakin' ears and pay attention to the yapper!

And I am the neighbor who will come to your house at 3am and tell you that your dog is annoying the crap out of me. I've done it a few times, and no doubt will do it again. I'm also the neighbor who will call the pound. I've done it before, and no doubt will do it again.

For a long while I thought my newest neighbors had the sense God gave them, and didn't want a dog. And so the neighborhood was practically devoid of barking dogs and all was peaceful in the night. Until 3 nights ago when the little boy next door joyfully shouted over the fence to me that they had just got a Chihuahua. A chihuahua people! Of all the dogs they could have gotten, they had to get the one that barks THE MOST!

And it does...all day long.

Yes, I will be taking measures. Say what you will about my cold-heart, and my un-feeling nature. Guys, it's not all dogs I hate - only the ones who bark! Or maybe I just hate the owners who let their dogs bark.

There's a couple down the street who own a dog and they've had the voicebox removed. Now THAT'S what I'm talking about!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Anybody but me have the hardest husband to buy for?

DH's birthday is next Wednesday and if you thought I even had a CLUE as to what to do, you'd be as far from the truth as possible.

What to do, what to do, what to do.....hmmmm.

And, to make matters worse, I need to buy two presents, one from me, one from SP.

He's got it so easy. I make it so easy on him. I know I'm hard to shop for (lol, mainly because he just doesn't pay attention when we're in a store - because if you watched me, it would be easy to tell the things I gravitate toward), but then I give him a veritable list of things I would like. Would it really be so hard for him to do the same?

So, I'm on a mission today. With luck, I won't have to drive ALL over the city.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Furry Lambs

As a ploy to get SP to allow me to brush her teeth, I've created the furry lambs that live on her teeth that need to be gotten rid of. It makes her laugh while I chase the furry lambs around her mouth with the vibrating toothbrush. Kids - you get inventive!

So we recently had cleanings at the dentist and she came out with a A+ bill of health. Me, on the other hand...not so much. Evidently mom's not been getting all the furry lambs out of her teeth. One has eaten a hole into a molar.

This was actually a good thing to happen though because SP is now acutely aware of what can happen if we don't get those furry lambs out! I have to go today to get the cavity filled (one of my very least favorite things to do in the whole world). I think I'll opt out of the laughing gas today though.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Since a good majority of the people that I know are mothers, I wanted to take a moment and acknowledge what a terrific and difficult job it is to be a mother. It truly is a tough job but gives ample reward.

My morning began with the most beautiful little bed-head girl peering up over the side of my bed saying, "Happy Mother's Day, Mom!" Then, she disappeared for a while and came back with a hand-made card - my first of this sort and I'm sure I will have it forever. It's precious.

I am so lucky to be a mom. It wasn't ever something I was dying to do but my life has been so blessed so much by this little person who follows me around everywhere. I just love her so much! When you have a child, it's as if you yourself are born again, as a new person. It's that different. It's that great.
My beautiful Mother's Day gift was this:
Yes, I know what I said about the hanging baskets but seriously, it's this just absolutely divine? I'm going to put some of those water crystals in it and hopefully prolong it's life. That's the plan.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

My Guilty Pleasures

The most widely understood definition of this term is "things you enjoy doing but are sort of embarrassed to admit to".

Here's a list of my few (not comprehensive because I'm bashful):

1) late night snacking on cheerios and chocolate chips and fruit-by-the-foot (lol, not together)

2) lounging in bed while the morning sun shines through my window

3) blowing off all of my work and floating in the pool while SP naps

4) diet pepsi (a few too many a day)

5) spending $$ frivolously on myself on things like flowers, clothes, shoes and whatever Costco is selling at the moment

6) going to movies alone

7) decaf - at least it's not the real stuff anymore but I still indulge once in a great while

8) sleeping in the spare bedroom in my very favorite mattress!!! DH hates it and I do have good reason to do so but I never really mind too much. It's SOOOO comfortable!

9) unabashed overindulgence in the biggest plate of spaghetti you've ever seen. My favorite food - never to be dished out sparingly!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Introducing My New Blog

It's a shame when all of the scrapbook pages done get put into a book on a shelf where they are only viewed now and then. Some of you may disagree with me but each scrapbook page is a creative outlet and a small work of art.

I wanted to share my pages with my family and friends...put them out there where they are viewed often instead of sitting in a book. My blog, Couldn't Be Scrappier, is a few months old but recently I've been adding to it more frequently because of my toe-dipping into digital scrapbooking. I hope you enjoy and/or find inspiration.

Garage Demo

Have I mentioned how much I hate my front yard? Dude, I abhor it! I can't even believe I bought this house based on the way the front yard looks. It's just SO ODD! And my home has absolutely not even a shred of curb appeal.

My last house was so cute. A little boxy brick bungalo with a little porch and a walk from the porch straight out to the sidewalk. The front yard was small and I had white petunias lining the walk on either side. It was charming and no surprise that it sold in 1 days without even having to list it or put a sign out.

This house on the other hand is the exact opposite. Driving by, you don't even notice it. For 3 months after buying it, I'd drive right past it without seeing it...completely missing my driveway.

That is hopefully about to change. The completely ineffective 1-car detached garage is coming down, as is the circular driveway that, while it is supposed to make pulling out onto a busy street easier, actually makes parking a nightmare. All of this is to be replaced by a real driveway with a turnaround, 2-car garage and a leveled-out front yard complete with rock walls, auto sprinklers and drought tolerant landscaping.

Before that happens though, the asbestos inspector needs to perform his $300 test. What the freak people? $300 to sniff around at my garage?

Well, I guess people might think I'm over-priced too.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Today is my little sister's birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, L - not like the 90 minute conversation didn't convey that message, lol).

Back to the point, my dad - completely out of form sent her a nice gift, complete with handwritten card and follow-up call. The man doesn't even usually acknowledge our birthdays, let alone personalize with a card. It's just not his way.

And I know this. Thus, I've learned to expect very little from him and when he does deliver, I'm pleased beyond measure.

There's a lesson here, I can feel it. It's right on the tip of my tongue...

Would I be more happy with what I receive on a regular basis from those that I expect to DH, my siblings, friends, my mother - if I lowered my expectations entirely?

I need to think about it. I heard long ago this saying and it's never left me:

"Un-met expectations are always the cause of disappointment."

In all of the time I've had to test this theory, I've found it to be 100% true.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sharing the Past

I got my hands on this the other day. It's me, 16 years ago for my senior pictures. I guess we didn't know about eyebrow waxing then...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I've Gone Digital

I resisted it for a long time. I just didn't think it could possibly be as cute as real-life paper crafting. And then my baby sister opened my eyes (as usual) and won me over. I may not ever go back.

BFF Reunited

And All Is Right With The World Again.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I'm Making Progress!

on The List. I spent a good amount of time in the yard this weekend. DH again convinced me not to do too much in the front because if a building permit isn't too much then the garage is coming down in a few weeks when he's got a whole week off. Then he'll be tearing out the whole yard and putting auto-sprinklers in, doing rock walls and a whole menagerie of wonderful things. Can I just say I'm a teenie bit hopeful!

But here's the progress on the backyard...

1. I don't usually let people see the Spring version of my planters but here is this one. It's needing some serious attention. Daisies line the perimeter of it and is that bush even still alive? (click for bigger pics) Check! - ready for a new variety of annuals. Last year it was beautiful!2. So that's where all you little guys have been hiding out! Time for a little heart-to-heart fellas. My parsley is NOT your home. Check! This parsley bush has been relocated to a pot so that DH can till the veggie garden. Snails have been relocated to heaven.
3. What are you? And where did you come from? Um, DH said he liked the "jungly look" of this corner and to please please leave it. It's a good thing it's not in my first line of vision when I look outside. I'm not lovin' the jungle look, myself. 4. I hate you. You are going down! Check! Oh. My. Gosh. This abominable creature was actually 5 creatures with arms 5" thick. I had to hack them off, then dig out each stump. After which I found 5 other tree stumps under and around this area. I dug each and everyone out, smoothed it out and perhaps it's ready now for some new beautification. This took me like 4 hours! Ok, not really but it felt like it. 5. This is the southeast corner of my yard leading up to the front. It's a menagerie of useless plants that turns jungle-like in August. I plan to tear it all out and then I have no idea. Check. Just to the right of this frame is the above creature. I cleaned this all out and am pleased with its potential now. Yeah me!
6. Didn't I already tear you out like 12 times already? Persistent little bugger. Check! This stinker is gone! Next , that trellis is history and I can do something else with this little corner that's right off my patio. It could actually look great! 7. Why didn't anyone tell me to take out bulbs before laying sod? Forgot about these, but DH mowed over them and the leaves will die so I'll probably not worry about them until next Spring. I don't want to destroy the sod pulling them up right now.8. Anyone need Irisis? These are in the wrong place, too compacted and just a little too unkempt for me. Didn't do this yet. I really need to figure out where else I can put these. Perhaps there will be a nice little spot in my fabulous new front yard...whenever that happens.9. Boxwoods: How about a measuring tape when planting, people. I mean, did they just haphazardly throw them in the ground or what? (there are 2 more to the right) Ugh. DH promised me to pull these out with a track-hoe but they're actually really nice boxwoods and he would destroy them. I don't mind them at all. I'd really rather just relocate them. Again, I'm stumped. I also got the entire veggie garden cleaned out. I actually had lots of stuff in there that needed to be moved for the tilling. The parsley, some oregano, chives and some volunteer lettuce that there's no sense in wasting. I love living in a house more than a couple's great to see what happens from year to year!

Saturday, May 3, 2008


I'm going to get really boring on you for a minute, so please humor me. I write this blog for my own personal journal...not just to amuse the masses.

I have a line of ancestors that I've been trying to track for several years - trying to figure out where in Europe (Austria) they originally came from. Everything I've tried has failed.

So about a month ago, I sent two requests to Pennsylvania for copies of death certificates for my great-great grandmother and her father. I was most interested in her father as it would have had a lot of specific information. I was SURE they'd be able to send it to me.

I've literally been running to the mailbox for two weeks ever since the checks were cashed proving they were on the case.

When they came in the mail today, it was akin to opening the envelope from my University when I was awaiting acceptance to my grad program. I quickly read through the information and although there was a death certificate for my great-great grandmother (FANTASTIC!), there was a short letter saying they had no record for her father. I was SO bummed!

NOW where do I look? I'm literally stumped!

Friday, May 2, 2008

New Job

When school's over at the end of May, I will be free to work somewhere else. A good friend of mine has given me a recommendation for a home healthcare company in the area where I can take over some of the patients that are up in my area.

I "interviewed" at the company yesterday which was sort of a joke because it really wasn't an interview at all. It was more like a Q & A, and then I filled out the employment forms at the end. I knew I wanted to work there and evidently my friend gave me a good enough recommendation.
So that's that.

Starting June 1, I'll be going to the homes of my patients who aren't able to get to out-patient therapy. I'm really excited as home care is the true meaning of occupational therapy and most of my schooling was dedicated to this service model.

Not to mention that the pay is about 1/3 more than I make right now and the flexibility couldn't be better, as I schedule my own patients around my life, not me having to work when I've been scheduled. It's going to be really good I think.