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Archive for January, 2009

My Brother-In-Law

Today is the third anniversary of my brother-in-law, Kevin’s death.  He was only 21; it was a motorcycle accident.  I’m just sitting here thinking about him.  He was such a nice kid.

He had a side business repairing computers and setting up networks and all that stuff.  He did the one at our office.  After he died, we were a little lost without him!

I remember one day the spring before he died, it was one of those really warm nice spring days in Missouri and he was out goofing around on his motorcycle.  He came by our house in the late afternoon.  Most boys that age would have kept going when he saw his brother wasn’t home.  But Kevin stopped and I fixed him some iced tea and we sat on the back porch and talked (I can’t remember what we talked about).  He even looked at my scrapbooks and acted interested!  I told you he was a sweet kid!

I have a lot of memories of him – although I wish I had more.  I know he would have loved Shelby and I’m sad she never got to meet him.  This sounds stupid, but I feel bad that the last meal I made for him was diet food because he loved to eat!  But, to be fair, he stopped by after I’d already started dinner.  And it was pretty good – Weight Watchers cheesy enchiladas.  But still.

I have so many memories of him – I see flashes of each of those memories.  But what stands out most is that he was laughing in almost every memory I have of him.  I only have 2 memories where he wasn’t laughing; and one of those was a funeral.

Kevin is missed still.

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I signed up for a swap wherein each person is supposed to alter something they find at the thrift store.  First, I have to tell you about my local thrift store because I think it’s so cool.  I live in a smallish town where none of the churches are really big enough to support a food pantry, clothes closet, Angel tree, etc. so they all work together to provide those services.  The thrift store money goes to that organization.

For my project, I got a denim skirt, a scarf, and a belt.  I spent less than $2.00.  I cut the bottom of the skirt and sewed a triple seam on the wrong side to make a bag.  I left the pockets intact to form nice side pockets.  I then cut the ends off the belt and stitched it to the sides to form the strap.  I tied the scarf around the bag just to dress it up and finish it off.

I’m really happy with how it turned out.

I know there are a lot of people who made New Year’s resolutions to get organized.  I have decided to help you poor souls.  Okay, not really, I just want to show off a little.

My craft room is pretty small considering how much crap good stuff I have crammed in there, so I’m always looking for ways to contain it.  Especially small items.  I like to be able to see all my stuffies, otherwise I forget I have it.

I got these 2 shadow boxes at my local thrift store for a dollar each and use them to hold rubber stamps and other random little things.

My original intent was to refinish the white one but I decided I rather liked the shabby look was too lazy to do it.  I still think it looks pretty cool though.

This final picture is my favorite organizational tip.  I got a magnetic knife strip from Bed, Bath, and Beyond and use it to hold my scissors.  Since I do both paper and fabric crafts, I have scissors for each.  In order to differentiate, I tie a little ribbon around my fabric scissors.  I’ve done it for years and can’t remember who I should credit with the idea.  I’m sure it wasn’t mine since I’m not that creative.  It could very well have been Martha Stewart.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my showing off.  And I hope you are duly impressed.

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My husband called me at work today and asked, “What takes red food coloring out?”  I asked back, “Out of what?” 

Let me show you some pictures and you can fill in the rest of the conversation for yourself.

Poor Meat was totally beside himself.  He thought they were going to be stuck home all day because, to use his words, “I’m not taking her out into public like this!”

I was cracking up.  I mean, once you’ve had your eight week old baby handed to you with tar on her heels, there is very little that can shock you anymore.  This is seriously the funniest (and cutest) thing I’ve seen in a long time.  The red handprints all over my carpet aren’t quite as funny – but they kind of are!  And look how much fun she’s having!

Apparently, I can’t follow instructions.  According to Pip Stitch’s tag, I was supposed to post the fourth picture from my fourth folder; not the sixth from the sixth.  I figured that, with my luck, the 4th of the 4th would be a blurry picture of my thumb or something.  But it’s actually a really good picture.  My mom took this picture of mine and my husband’s fishing boat down at The Lake of the Ozarks last summer.

A couple summers ago, Meat’s uncle called and asked if we wanted the boat.  It had been Meat’s grandfather’s.  My darling husband didn’t want it because it had been sitting outside so long, but I told him that I really really wanted it.  So he went up and dragged it home for me.  Would you believe that, after sitting outside for over a decade, that engine started right up?  There was a little smoke and some oil was required, but it started!  Anyway, we’ve had a lot of fun with the boat and Meat is very glad I made him go get it.

And apparently this boat is very unusual because of the steering.  I don’t know about that, all I know is that when we go to a gas station pulling our boat, men come up and ask my husband about it.  So it must be cool.

I would love to post a link to Pip Stitch’s blog, but I still can’t figure it out.  So if you don’t mind, just look to your right and there is a link over there.

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First of all, isn’t my new header awesome?  My friend Tammy did it.  She doesn’t have a blog, but she should.  She’s very funny freaking hilarious.  (I have funny friends.  I figure if I hang out with funny people then other people will think I’m funny too.)

Anyway, onto Helpful Hints from Mary.  I spent my morning in criminal court.  About 2 1/2 years ago I got pulled over and couldn’t find my insurance card.  Not having insurance in Missouri is apparently a criminal offense.  Then there were paperwork problems and it became a whole big mess that I won’t get into right now.

Nonetheless, I spent my morning in criminal court and now I feel that I must editorialize on the experience.  Let’s start with the basics.  If you are in criminal court, whether you are guilty as sin or innocent as the wind-driven snow, your sole purpose in life at that moment is to convince the judge that you are a productive and responsible member of society so that he will go easy on you.  So why in the heck would you show up to court looking like you are about to go out on a roofing crew?  (Note: there is nothing in this world wrong with being a roofer, I’m simply making the point that your roofing wardrobe is – or should be – different from your going-to-court wardrobe.)

Half the people there smelled as though they hadn’t bathed in a week.  It was so gross that I spent the morning trying not to gag on the smell.

I can’t tell you how many women were wearing sweatsuits.  I don’t care if you did buy it at Macy’s and it cost $100, a sweatsuit is a sweatsuit and is not appropriate attire for court.  Neither are tennis shoes.  Additionally, you girls with the faded yoga pants and flannel jackets – no way!  Come on people!  Take a bath, comb your hair and put on clean, ironed clothes.  Even if all you own are jeans, at least wash and iron them.

Now, young men … if you do not want the judge to think you are a thug, do not dress like one.  For starters, it is inappropriate to wear a ball cap inside the courthouse but especially the courtroom!  And, if you don’t want the bailiff to get nervous and shoot your dumb butt, then for Pete’s sakes, pull up your pants and take the hoodie off.  Can you believe that I actually saw grown men with their hood up over their heads in court?!  More than one!

Sheesh.  I would have thought it would be obvious that you would need to look presentable when you go before a judge, but I guess some people just don’t get it.  Besides that, if I have to be all miserable and uncomfortable in panty hose and high heels, then you should too.  It’s only fair.

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Seriously.  You are not allowed to laugh at my sewing attempts.  You are not even allowed to smirk.  Joy, I see you smirking!  Just because you sew lovely creations every day doesn’t mean you can smirk at me!

First I should give you some background.  I can’t sew.  And I finally realized that it might not actually be because I can’t sew but rather that sewing takes practice and I don’t have the patience to put up with the sewing machine long enough to practice.  My needle is always coming unthreaded, I get hunched over and my shoulders hurt, it’s just a pain in the neck.

I had an IB English teacher who, in all her infinite wisdom, felt that people should learn to do many things.  Or at least try them.  Okay, I can’t say as I disagree with her, I’ve tried many things over the years.  But she decided we needed to learn something new as a semester project.  I thought, in all my infinite wisdom, that it would be fun to try sewing.  It was not.  Choosing the pattern and the fabric was fun, cutting it out wasn’t bad, putting the stupid thing together nearly drove me to drink.  And I was only 15!

So my forays into sewing have been limited.  However, I got some sort of brain fart last week and decided that I needed to make myself a purse.  A purse of all things.  What was I thinking?  But it’s a rag quilt purse, so I figured it wouldn’t be too bad.  And it wasn’t, except for the part with the sewing machine.  And, with a rag quilt, getting straight seams isn’t quite as imperative as it is with other projects.  I actually finished it in a day.  To be fair though, my mom and sister came over and played with Shelby while I quilted the blocks.  And then I put them together after she went to bed.

Here it is in all its glorious gloriousness.

You can buy patterns to make these online but, being the engineer-type that I am, I just drew my own sketch.  I did, however, misoverestimate the amount of fabric I would need.  By twice.  I’m still not sure how that happened.

Feel free to leave comments.  But no laughing.  And no haranguing.  I mean it!

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If you read the comments that people leave on my blog, you might have noticed some from Letty.  She’s a dear friend and we’ve known each other since probably Kindergarten.  Letty sends me the funniest emails – usually about our past dorkiness – so I’ve been trying to talk her into starting her own blog.  But she won’t (boo hiss).  I have, however, convinced her to be a guest blogger over here.

She told me I could edit her post any way I saw fit.  I did not see fit.  But I do have to mention this because Letty is too nice to do so – she may have been tone deaf, but I have the rhythm of a rabid jackrabbit.  So it was probably just as much my fault as hers!

Without further ado … Here’s Letty!

 Mary’s recent post on an elementary school memory prompted a nostalgic trip down memory lane of my own. Some of the most hilarious, and disatrous (therefore somewhat embarrassing), grade school memories stem from the annual Greenwood Elementary Talent Show. Every late spring the school with abuzz with preparations of this event once the flyers were sent home advertising auditions. Unlike my children’s more progessive elementary school where any child willing may participate, our grade school made you go before a table of judges (maybe it was only the music teacher- I actually don’t remember that part) and “try out”. I guess they wanted to avoid having a small little 1st grader freeze with stage fright while we all sat there and stared, or wasting hours upon hours of what should be named “the UN-talent show”.
 
         All the cool, of course talented, kids were selected and the resulting 90 minute or so show was quite entertaining. The most two memorable acts I can recall were when a group of teachers donned black trash bags and danced and sang to “I heard it through the grapevine” and a group of “cool popular” kids did a skit to “Splish, Splash I was taking a bath”. Therefore, in this tradition, I wanted to join this elite group of entertainers and also bring such joy to my peers. I, little farm-girl, bookworm, musically un-talented me, decided I should showcase my “talents” as well. Because I was not one of the priviliged girls who took dance or gymnastics to do some flashy routine, I had to think of something else.
 
          I believe I was in either first of second grade the first time I dreamed of performing on stage somewhere besides my backyard. I enlisted the help of my friend (who I have no idea what became of her to this day!) and we meekly walked onto the stage for our big chance to stardome. I remember seeing my mother smiling oh so sweetly watching me and my friend fight over the microphone and sing “Jesus Loves Me” acappella. I guess it shouldn’t have been a surprise were we not selected that year. I don’t remember being too disappointed though, and decided to try again.
 
            This time Mary, my dear musically talented friend, and I auditioned together. This was probably third or fourth grade (Mary- do you remember?). Mary had been talking piano lessons so we thought we could showcase that while I sang. After practicing at her house, we were ready for the big moment. I had selected a prop for our selection “Lavendar’s Blue”, a nice bushel of fake blue flowers. While Mary played away at the piano I stood beside her holding the flowers and attempted to sing. Again, my mother sat ever so sweetly watching me in quiet support. I think I missed the cue and sang off-beat (or whatever that is called when you aren’t singing along with the notes- I am some sort of tone-deaf). Singing is definately not one of my “gifts”. Again, I was rejected, but yet again don’t remember being too heartbroken.
 
           Ever to preservere, I made my next attempt. By 5th or 6th grade (again, I don’t remember) my creative writing skills had developed to a point where I could write a skit. It involved a grandmother watching a TV with a real person in it and something about a burglar coming into the room, I don’t really remember any of these details. I was so enthusiatic that my attempt at writing and directing was going to be hit and promptly started casting the performers. As the rehearsing processes began (at Recess, of course, since we couldn’t get any of our parents to drive us to a central location)
my players began dropping out, either to join another person’s talent group or for fear of failure. I had to finally coherce severely un-talented classmates to participate. I only had one guy who really did a good job. I couldn’t even get the other people to learn their lines. So that audition was a complete flop. I remember one boy completely forgetting his lines and just standing there dumbfounded while huge props just falling over. I remember being very fustrated but laughing uncontrollably because it just was so wrong. I guess that was better than crying in front of everyone! Still, I was not allowed to participate in that year’s talent show. I finally gave up.
 
           In retrospect, the powers that be at Greenwood Elementary placed way too much emphasis on the Talent Show. It was entertaining, yes, but it just reinforces society’s perception of worth based on entertainment value. I am glad my children’s school does allow everyone to participate, although it may contribute to the problem of the “over-praised child”. If I could do it over again, I probably would audition again- it was really fun preparing for them- and enduring rejection just strengthened my character. Just don’t ever expect me to do Karoake!

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The Things We Say.

When I was expecting Shelby, people would tell me all the time, “Your life is going to change after the little one is born.”  I always had to fight back an overwhelming urge to fake faint from the shock of that!  Who knew, right?  It would make Meat Galore mad when people told him that.  He would come home and ask me, “Why does everyone think I’m an idiot?  Do they really think I don’t know my life is going to change?”

But I don’t think we were quite prepared for the idiotic things that would come out of our mouths after becoming parents.  Take today for instance.  Imagine my surprise to hear my beloved shout, “Shelby!  Don’t lick the trash can!”

I can only hope and pray that we aren’t still saying that when she’s in high school.

Patty over at Pip Stitch “tagged” me.  For all of you non-bloggers, it’s the blogosphere equivalent of email forwards.  But it’s more fun (and I kind of like Patty) so I’ll participate.

I’m supposed to share the 6th picture in my 6th folder.  So here it is.

I took this picture on our way home from St. Louis last November.  It’s on I-70 over by Lambert Field.  I do believe that it’s the most non-sensical sign I have ever seen.  Does it mean that you are in violation of the law if you are injured?  Should everyone move off the roadway?  How will injuries be avoided if everyone is moving off the roadway?

Okay, for those of you who don’t know me and who haven’t caught on to my super-dry sense of humor yet, I know what point the sign is trying to make.  There’s no need to explain it to me.  But you have to admit that it’s a pretty dumb and ambiguous way to word a sign.

I have to end this post now so I can go tell my kid not to eat toilet paper.

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