Sunday, December 31, 2006

It's A Miracle!

Blogger let me on! Granted, it is almost 11pm on New Years Eve and the rest of the planet is out doing something lively and NOT in front of a computer screen, but still....

So, shock and amazement, we are having a boy. I should have known. I took a gigantic leap of faith and wrote articles and stuff about how I was so sure that God wanted me to have another girl so it was destined that I would be pregnant with a boy. I am now three for three in Very Wrong About Gender. I give women's intuition a really bad name.

On the other hand, my Hubs is a great dad of sons, therefore this is boy will be an awesome man of God.

Now for a name...because the one that "God gave me" is totally inappropriate considering the plumbing.

I have three more days that constitute holiday in my house so I'll be sparse and short, but hopefully I'll be back "ON" soon.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

1000 Words

Sleeping Through It

I keep having dreams that I have slept through an important event in this baby's life. First I dreamed that I slept through the labor and delivery (which was apparently hard) and the baby was a boy. Considering I thought it should be a girl, I didn't believe them that the baby presented was mine.

And last night I dreamed that I fell asleep in the sonogram. In my dream they did all these preliminary things...not only on me but everyone in the room (my children, Hubs and one random teenager from my church). I fell asleep while they were doing samples on the others. Apparently so did the sonographer. We both woke up just as the appointment was over. I demanded a quick look where she showed me a very bizarre shot of the baby's brain and then kicked me out.

What I want to know is considering the trouble I have sleeping these days, how on earth when I do sleep, do I dream of sleeping through important events?

Any dream interpreters out there?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Oh, my good heavens...blogger let me on. Granted, it took more than an hour to get to the posting site once I opened blogger, but I didn't get an error page! Hubs tells me that it is because I have Explorer 7 and my last computer had 6 and he refuses to take me backwards in time. I have to use Firefox. Whatever. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

So, I'm a freak.

I knew I was a bit of a freak. I'm a freak in my family: they are all melancholy and I'm sanguine. They homeschool. I don't. They don't eat sugar.....And I'M the freak. (she chuckles)

So my family is just enough strange to make me feel somewhat "normal" and then I go to Hub's company Christmas thing.

(insert maniacal laughter here)

Oh. My. Gosh.

I'm a total freak. I've been in my little social circle for so long that I've forgotten how totally freakish I really am.

Seriously. I could console myself with the idea that they are the freaks and I'm the normal one, but come on, even I don't believe it. So, instead, I'll continue to dance around my house singing the eighties "She's a Freak" song until the shock of it all wears off.

Just finished Rene Gutteridge's "Scoop." It was a fun little read.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Walking Reminder

I promise it isn't me. I can only get on blogger about twice a week these days. Maybe it is the new computer? Someone doesn't like my cookies.


A good friend of mine miscarried last weekend. I hate that. It makes me angry. I hate that there is usually nothing that can be done when it happens. But,

She and her husband are strong. I have heard enough of the story to know that they are doing as okay as they can spiritually, emotionally, physically and they will get past this. So for a moment I'm going to go into the all-about-me mode.

The poor girl had to spend four out of the last eight days with me. Four in a row. Me, in all my shining, glowing, blooming, undeniable in-the-family-way glory.

I've been on that side of it. I've miscarried and listenend to some pregnant woman complain about how tired, hungry, or swollen she is. And I'd wonder why she couldn't tone it down. (In my case it was usually because she had no idea.)

I have such a hard time on my side of things. By my 31 years I've suffered three years of infertility. More than one miscarriage. A lot of hopelessness. A lot of hope. I've had the opportunity to adopt and I love it. I want to adopt again. I've been miraculously healed. And now I can get pregnant at the drop of the hat (or whenever God tells me to which is, of course, the preferable method). So I understand both sides of the equation.

I know how annoying it is to see pregnant women when you want to be and can't. I understand how annoying it is to hear pregnant women gripe about the side effects. I understand how annoying it can be to hear moms complain about their bad days.

And I totally get how hard it is to guard your every word around people that are having trouble. Or to not feel free to express the diffuculties of parenting. Or to not feel that adoption is sometimes a stinking lot easier (even though in the throes of it, it didn't feel that way).

So anyway, I'm suffering a guilt complex because I know I'm a walking reminder of what a lot of people want this season and can't have. So I find myself trying to hide behind a coat or big clothes and pretend that I am not blessed indeed. Which I think is again closing myself off.


Friday, December 08, 2006

Best Friends

Yesterday was one of those days where so many things came clear. For years I've complained that I'm lonely and I can't tell Hubs why. It isn't that I can't find someone to spend time with or that I don't have plenty to do. But on those days when I am just at odds with myself I feel like there is no one to call. But yesterday I figured it out.

I'm no one's go-to person.

I'm a great call-in-a-crunch person. I'm a great pinch babysitter. Go to piano recital with not much notice person. Bring a snack to a meeting that starts in 30 minutes person. Offer my home to host something when the original host got sick person. But no one calls me in the throes of a real crisis. I'm usually on the list. I'm often in the lineup of "let Jamie know, okay?" I ALMOST always find out when the crisis has passed but before it is mentioned in passing at the next gathering. Friends, family, you name it.

And this is a problem why? Because that leaves me with no one to call when I'm having a crisis. Like the person on the other end of the line is wondering why I called them. Part of my problem is that the person I would call my go-to person has become a lot of people's go-to person and she doesn't need anymore people caling her with a crisis. My second go-to who has become my go-to has more on her plate than I can even imagine so my stuff seems so petty. But part of it is that you can only be brutally honest with someone so many times without reciprocation before you start feeling naked at a party.

So last night Hubs and I were trying to figure out why neither of us was anyone's emotional go-to person (because everyone will come to him to solve a technical problem). We decided we must be holding ourselves emotinally unavailable. But I don't know how to be any more emotionally available. I don't keep an immacualte house. I don't have perfect children. Heaven knows I don't look the part of perfection, ever. I confess my failings. I send out invites like crazy. but there must be some part of my make up that says "not available." How many times do you tell a people "stop by anytime" "come over in the morning for coffee" "if you need a nap, please call me to watch you squirt" "I have been there...if you need to talk, I promise not to speak" before you just pack it in and quit?

That wasn't a rhetorical question.

And is there any way to get out of this place I'm stuck without just moving to another town, church, whatever and starting over?

I had an eloquent post...

one keystroke and 99% of my post was deleted. What happened? No clue. Hating either Blogger or my new-to-me computer right now.

Monday, December 04, 2006


I'm tired of people. We are so fallible. And so annoying.

So today I got an email from someone who purchased an audiobook from me through Amazon. The book was on CD. The CDs were in "like new" condition when they left my home.

Apparently the box is all smushed, the sleeve is all dusty and the CDs are all scratched. Tell me, when CDs are in sleeves and the box is in a padded envelope, how this could happen?

Yes, the box could have been smushed. I don't question that. But there is no way that CDs in a sleeve could get scratched without the envelope tearing (and being run over by a car). Could there be A SCRATCH? I suppose. But I thought i ckecked them over pretty carefully. I am a nonconfrontational person. I don't like being questioned so I go overboard to please, to give the absolute truth.

So it is this person's work against mine. Lovely huh?

I had the stupid CDs less than a week. I got them new. Listened once. Didn't think I'd ever listen again. Listed them and sold them. If the sleeves are dusty, it is because they came that way. Cardboard has fillaments that flake off. I'm sorry. There is no way to prevent that.

So my mind starts questioning this person's integrity. Does this person just want a free CD series and see me as a conduit? If I question the condition, it isn't like they can't scratch it up before sending it back. And then it is ruined for me anyway.

All for the sake of $20. That's it. I'm done. I'll just keep my books. People can buy new. Take it up with the publisher.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hazardous Duty

I read a great book this afternoon. Not finished, not started, read. Cover to cover.

Okay, yes, I am also snowed in, but still. It's nice to read something that is just plain fun for once. So in case you are inclined to do so, I recommend you pick up Hazardous Duty by Christy Barritt.

It's kind of chick-litty, kinda romantic suspense, whole lotta easy to read sassy.

As typical suspense goes, you'll spend some time telling her "don't go in there!" I'm chicken. I don't go to the grocery store alone at night. Well, not often, anyway.

As good suspense goes, you'll try to make everyone the bad guy at some point, but you only figure it out for sure about a coupla chapter before the reveal. I hate suspense where it is so obvious half a book through who the bad guy is, but they don't get there because there is a word count problem....

Okay, maybe I should have guessed sooner, but I didn't and I consider myself pretty decent at these things.

My two eyebrow raisings took place at the possible deathbed conversion (which was nicely rectified moments later) and that the fact that Einstein was a Christian was raised. I knew he was Jewish...Hubs says he definately believed in God (but can't even back me on the Jewish thing)...but this was a first that someone definitvely called him a Christian. I'm not saying he wasn't, just that it was the first time I'd heard that.

Oh, and the protag is a scientist. You have to know that I'm a sucker for that kind of thing. How many times have I said in my life, "Put me alone in a room with a microscope and I'll be's the people in life that wear me out." If she weren't such a daredevil, I think we could be friends.

That and she likes iced lattes.

Anyway, you want a fun read. Go here:

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What to write, what to write....

Good Heavens, Blogger has been hard for me to get in to. I think it is because they want me to switch to beta and I never have time.

I'm iced in here. I'll love it right up until I find out school isn't closed tomorrow and I'll have to go out in it.

My huge baby brother nearly cut off his finger last night with a table saw. Really.

And had I posted last Friday, I would have said:

A quiet crying headache is NOTHING compared to the agony that hit my stomach shortly after I got myself calmed down Thanksgiving night. I almost wonder if I caused it myself with all my anxiety people pleaser tendencies (which oddly enough leaves no one pleased and is basically worthless except for creating headaches and stomach flu symptoms). And I won't give any more details than that.

Monday, November 27, 2006

If I had blogged on Thanksgiving...

I would have said:

I hate crying quietly. It gives me such a headache.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wal Mart Got A Clue!

From American Family Association:

Wal-Mart has announced it "will no longer make corporate contributions to support or oppose controversial issues unless they directly relate to their ability to serve their customers." AFA is pleased with this announcement.Wal-Mart made the announcement Tuesday afternoon.

In response to Wal-Mart's statement, AFA has decided to cancel its efforts of encouraging people to not shop at Wal-Mart or Sam's Club this Friday and Saturday.We believe that Wal-Mart will remain neutral in cultural battles.

Click here to see the Wal-Mart announcement.

Please send Wal-Mart a "Thank You" for its statement.
Send Your Letter Now!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Cricket Update

I offered my kids a nickel for each cricket they smash. So far it has been 20 cents well spent.

My husband is awesome, he can get a dozen in about 30 seconds. I try, but screetch more than successfully smash.

The molasses idea has not yet worked.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Vile Creatures

Has anyone ever had an infestation of brown crickets? Is there anything that can possibly be done to rid my home of them?

They have these teeny bodies and gigontomous legs and they climb the wall and they are wrethched and vile and I hate them.

For a while we just had a few. But now I think a nest of eggs must have hatched because they are everywhere.

They used to stay in my basement, but they've made it up to the third story.

Did I mention they climb walls and are wretched and vile cretures?

What do they eat?

I've sprayed.

I am at a loss.

But I carry a shoe with me everywhere I go.

Oh, and they are cannibles. If I leave the carcas, I am assured to find another vile creature feasting when I come back.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Scared, but Polite

My three-year-old, Frodo, wanted to wear his Tigger costume today. It is a furry, pull-over vest type thing with a head that is a huge hood and his face peeks out the mouth. I got him all dressed, quite relieved that he wanted to wear anything that WASN'T pajamas. He clomped over to the mirror and announced, "I look redic-ul-lous."

He says the darndest things.

Last night he awakened, as he has done several times lately, terrified. Hubs went up to him and he apparently asked for me. I met them halfway and tried to take him, but he wouldn't move from Daddy's arms to mine so I kinda hugged him over Hub's back. He continued to scream and I eventually asked if he wanted me to rock him.


In his terror he screamed it. It still makes me giggle. I know it probably shouldn't, but you just have to picture this kid who isn't even really responding to anything, suddenly hears what he wants and screams his confirmation. Not just yes, but yes, thank you.

He settled right down.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I'm Annoying, Again

And oh, how I hate it.

I honestly don't think anything has changed. If anything, my house is cleaner than it has been. The food is still there and ready at mealtimes. The clothes are all laundered. And my personality, which, I admit, has it's annoying traits, has not been especially severe, just normally annoying.

So why can I not open my mouth without creating exasperation?

I would just climb into the hole of silence, but then I get accused of being upset, or giving the silent treatment and suddenly I'm the one with the problem.

Meanwhile, I'm going to do my best to not be offended, or offensive. I typically become less annoying, eventually. If not, well, maybe I can get a lobotomy.

In an attempt to "get away," I'm reading about the Caribbean.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Generation NeXt Parenting by Tricia Goyer

I read a book recently that gave me a little insight as to why I do what I do in regard to parenting my children. And I thought I was just nuts. Apparently, there is this whole generation of us who want to "do it right" and that doesn't necessarily mean the way our parents did it.

Okay, fess up parents (the 45 and under crowd), you've read at least one parenting book, haven't you? And probably not just one....say 10? At least skimmed. Because we don't want to screw up our kids, do we? I want to get it right. So much responsibility. So many things that can go wrong. So much judgement--or we see it even if it isn't there--if only from ourselves.

So I picked up Generation NeXt Parenting by Tricia Goyer expecting her to tell me how to do it right. And she didn't.

The nerve. The audacity. Ah, the freedom.

What she has done is basically provide a (do I dare say it?) devotional (now don't run screaming!) for parents. It is a spiritual journey to read this book. Yes, she goes into why we do things the way we do them. How we do things. What we try not to do. And, true, there are a few suggestions as to how to be better parents. Like search the Word, dig deeper with God, rely on God, don't wallow in your past. You know, easy stuff (guffaw).

And she brings together so many other sources of insight. Quotes from many of the books I've searched out and read (and been intimidated by). Oh, and applicable 80s music lines that are oh, so apropos.

Here are just a few nuggets:

From Seeing is Believing, by Gregory A. Boyd: "The fruit of the Spirit is not a goal we can and must seek to attain. Indeed, it is called the fruit of the Spirit precisely because it is the fruit of the Spirit and not the product of our own effort."

From Tricia: "If we can focus on what we know about God, and His ways first--above the latest "good parent" advice--we'll have more peace about our decisions concerning our kids."

"Our time with our kids is once-in-a-lifetime. How sad it would be if we missed out on the beauty of this journey by living under a burden of self-imparted guilt and dissatisfaction...especially when we have a God who is offering us grace and loving kindness."

Oh, and right up there in my top ten favorite: "Just as each of our kids is special and unique, we need to accept that the same is true of us as parents, too. We won't do everything well, and we shouldn't expect ourselves to."

A warning to the overstimulated: there are a lot of font changes in this book. But chances are, the fonts will take you on a visit down memory lane. I guess the pubs remember who we are: the TV generation. Keep our minds stimulated to keep us interested...

This is a great book and you too have the opportunity to read it! Just leave a comment before next Friday (that is a week from today) and I'll draw one lucky winner to receive a free copy (I believe it is even autographed). But, you'll have to leave me a way to contact you for your info, so annonymous people should either watch for the winner next Friday or email me about who you are, okay?

And those of you who don't want to wait, get it at your local Christian bookstore or here:

Too Little, Too Late

Last night, Hubs told me that Wal-Mart has decided to buck the Happy Holidays issue and use Merry Christmas. Too little, too late, I say. How about we donate 5% of our proceeds to a Christian organization and THEN I'll consider darkening their doors again.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

And an open apology re:puke.

To my Hubs who got pummeled the other day about the puke,

Shoot, anyone who is so good handling freaky nightmares deserves one failing point.

And to the witnesses,

It was only my child's puke. I just ALMOST joined him. We are all well now.

Lovingly yours,

How Many Pennies are Your Beliefs Worth?

I caved this morning. I HAD to go to Sam's because I dropped off film many weeks ago and I can't stand to lose whatever memories were trapped in their photo department. But the photo department had no one manning it when I got in so I crossed over to the dairy section. I'm telling you Sam's prices on cheese can't be beat. Not even with sales and coupons. Since no one has called for an official boycott, I got what I knew would probably be my last cheap cheese for a while. All the while I'm thinking, "How much is your soul worth, Jamie? How cheap does cheese need to be in order for you to go against what you know to be true?" And I bought it anyway since I was picking up pictures.

Meanwhile, I got this email from American Family Association. They aren't even calling for a real boycott. I think they know that we bow down to the almighty dollar. This one was easy to sign. Meanwhile, I'll be searching for other places to shop. How is the whole Target and "holidays" thing going this year?

Okay, and it isn't that I think Wal-Mart shouldn't hire homosexuals or whatever, but if we are going to give donations to special interest groups, why not World Vision, Samaritan's purse, the Gideons? This just went W-a-a-a-a-a-y across the line.

From AFA:
In a show of support to help homosexuals legalize same-sex marriage, Wal-Mart has agreed to automatically donate 5% of online sales directly to the Washington DC Community Center for Gay, Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender People. The cash donation will come from online purchases made at Wal-Mart through the homosexual group's Web site. This move follows Wal-Mart's joining the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and agreeing to give generous financial help to that organization also.

Every purchase made online for books, music, videos, clothing and accessories, children's clothing and toys, and electronics at the site will automatically send 5% of the sales to the CCBLBT People. The agreement is an indication that Wal-Mart is totally committed to supporting the homosexual movement.

Wal-Mart also gave a generous cash donation to the Northwest Arkansas Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center, helping to provide a place where homosexuals can come together to "socialize."

Many observers feel it would have been a wise business decision for Wal-Mart to remain neutral in the cultural battle over homosexual marriage. But this was an ideological decision by Wal-Mart - not a business decision.

Take Action
1. Sign the petition to Wal-Mart letting them know you will be one of the 1,000,000 families who will not shop at Wal-Mart or Sam's Club on the Friday or Saturday following Thanksgiving.

2. VERY IMPORTANT! Millions of Americans are not aware of Wal-Mart's support for homosexual marriage. PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY.

3. Print out and distribute the Wal-Mart Pass Along Sheet by clicking here. For past Wal-Mart Action Alerts, plus answers to your questions (where to shop?), Click Here.
Click Here to Sign the Petition to Wal-Mart Now!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Trounced at the polls

Yes, all my gents went down in flames last night. My ladies, too. Seriously, besides the judges, etc., those elections I really cared about, flamed.

Crying in my toast this morning.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

An Open Letter to Husbands re. puke

If, after a long day of football, you have fallen asleep in your recliner and you are "rudely" awakened by your half naked wife who is stage whispering, "Hubs, I need your help!" here are a few tips:

1. Please don't act like the awakening is rude. It is after all, after 11 PM and she was sleeping, too.
2. When you do become fully awake twelve minutes later you might clarify with your wife that she did, in fact, say "half the room is covered in puke" and could potentially not be exaggerating.
3. Don't act like she didn't warn you when you step in said puke.
4. After you stand like a zombie and watch her clean up the puke, gagging herself, you could grab your own rag and begin wiping.
5. But if you aren't going to do that, you could at least not comment on how bad the smell is.
6. Thank you, by the way for taking the squirto and putting him in his bed.
7. While your wife is downstairs throwing all the linens and disgusting nightclothes in the washer, now is not the time to begin brushing your teeth so that you can go to bed.
8. When said wife returns and points out that there is still more puke to be cleaned up, you still have the opportunity to do more than say "oh."
9. When wife points out that she was on the bed when child began puking and you have inspected bed and declared it puke free--let's say it together, don't crawl into bed before you clarify that the rest of the room has been wiped up.
10. While wife is in the shower washing the puke out of her hair, you could at least ask if there is anything else to be done before you go to sleep.
11. But if you want to redeem yourself from all wifely wrath, bound out of bed when squirto begins "coughing" again, hold him as he wretches, wet a rag and wash off his face when he is done, and get him settled, then whisper, "Love you" to wife just before she nods off. Oh, and skip your early morning meeting to drive other two children to school. Very well done. Consider yourself redeemed.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Election Week

And man am I sick of the mailings and phone calls. I knew weeks ago whom I am voting for...and not. For anyone interested in Kansas politics or the pro-life movement, this link might interest you.

The "choice" chick reminds me of the spin guy in "Thank You for Smoking." A wildly irrelevent and as un-PC as they come hilarious movie that I'm ashamed that I enjoyed (warning, the F-bomb is dropped regularly--watch it with TV guardian (the movie, that is, not the link clips)).


I feel physically ill about the situation in Colorado Springs with Pastor Ted. I've been to his church. They have some amazing people. I've been to their Leadership Conference. It was there I made some lifechanging decisions. I've heard him speak. He has great things to say. I have one of the CDs produced by some of their worship leaders. It's my favorite worship CD. I ache for his family. And his church family. But the truth is, we all knew he was a sinner. The Bible says so. For all have sinned....

It makes me take a step back and look at my own life. What am I doing today that can lead to heartache for those around me tomorrow? This isn't a time to get cynical about the church or the Christian faith. It is a time to seek God and come back to Him. If we aren't going forward, we are probably slipping backward. For me, it is time to turn around and start trudging back up that hill.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Zero Point Two Seconds

Well, okay, 30 minutes....

I spent the entire morning cleaning my basement. It has nasty school tile floors, unfinished sheetrock walls, lightbulbs that don't work as well as my "office," my husband's old "office" (and thus still holding all the "very important info that we wouldn't be albe to find if our lives depended upon it as well as a bunch of stuff that if he would jut look at would probably hit the trash can but he doesn't have to because he has a real office now") and my laundry room which holds its own assortment of stuff. But because I spend time here, so do my kids--and the crickets.

Anyway, today I got serious about cleaning it. Not just picking it up, but sweeping the cobwebs (containing cricket carcases) out of the corners.

I take one lousy phone call. One. And come back into the basement. What do I find?

Trashed. That's all it took them.

Why do I bother?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tired of being the freak

Why is it okay for national companies to refuse to recognize Christmas but it is so hard for a Christian to not participate in Halloween? Look, you wanna call your tree a holiday tree, go ahead. Fine. The stupid tree isn't a Christian symbol anyway. You want to take Christmas off, and refuse to acknowledge what it is that gave you that day off....whatever. It annoys me, but I'm not shoving it down your throat. So why, in the name of tolerance, is it abusive for me to take my kids to the library on Halloween, an activity they enjoy, with a quick stop at the grocery store for them to each pick a bag of candy they like most (to silence the skeptics that say it is all about the candy). Why must we participate?

I'm sick of feeling like the freak, even in the church, for choosing to skip this "holiday." Once, in college, I had the audacity to show up at work in work clothing. My co-workers and the people I stabbed in the finger (I worked at a plasma bank) all stared at me like I was a freak. Someone said, "Oh, Jamie doesn't believe in Halloween..."

"Oh yes, I do." I replied. "That is why I don't participate."

Now I didn't say anything else and wouldn't have said that if they hadn't been taunting me. I'm not trying to get others to join me. I just know too much and I can't participate. Yes, I participated as a child--until I was pursued down a dark road by a car full of men. I remember the fun and the candy. And yes, it was one of my favorite holidays. I get that. I don't need every Christian telling me that it is just a kids holiday and that I'm over-reacting. You wanna participate, fine. Do it. But leave me out of it. And for heaven's sake quit trying to make my kids want to participate. They like the library, their choice of candy, the dress-up they get to choose on November 1, their Popin's birthday, and McDonalds Playplace. Got it? Good.

Monday, October 30, 2006

I admit it, they got me!

Last week, in the masses of V1agra sp*m I get everyday, I got this one:

Why be BIG, when you can be normal? (and then a link)

I added sender to blocked sender list, of course, but laughed the whole way and have chuckled about it ever since. Hubs guessed that they were selling wieghtloss something. I've since then thought they might have been trying reverse, tongue in cheek humor. Whatever it was/is, it was a nice change of pace.

Oh, and my internet has been really screwey, so please forgive my sporadic posting lately.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


It wasn't ten minutes after I made the last post that I wrote something like this one. But Blogger has been freezing up on me and I forgot that it never posted. Which is funny again, in its own way. Though the post also didn't save, so I'm going from scratch again and may lose it--again.

So, I've been questioning God and provision and tithing and giving and wondering and wondering and wondering.

See, we did taxes recently. (Don't ask, business owners and we didn't owe.) And when we add up our giving it works out well over the 10% range. So, considering things are ALWAYS tight I began to ask friends how they figure their "tithe." Does the tithe (in this reference I'm just calling 10% tithe and I know that true giving and tithing etc according to OT is closer to 30% and I don't want to get into that debate, so let's don't okay?) have to go to your church or do Christian organizations count? Etc, etc. I've tossed this one around now for a couple weeks. It has really kind of shut me down.

So on Monday my husband had to work from home because we only had one working vehicle and I had to take the kids to school and pick them up and everything is too far away to even consider walking. Got that? Meanwhile, Hubs feels like he practically has a free day (hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!) and takes "off" early to go get glasses which he has needed for a decade. Hi parents got tired of looking at his old glasses and bought him a gift certificate for his birthday--SIX MONTHS AGO. Anyway, I had a coupon to the place and was trying to get myself a pair of glasses out of the deal also (didn't happen). But he did spend less than the certificate because of the coupon and they gave him cash back. (Provision number 1--we needed cash.)

Meanwhile, Hubs called a friend of ours who specializes in fixing broken and hopeless vehicles in the housecall method (read: didn't have to have it towed). He not only fixed out van for a fraction of the cost of the shop, he told us about a certain recall that will fix our cruise control for free. Not a necessity, but nice nonetheless. (provision number 2 and 3: Still up since we used the cash plus free fix of cruise).

And yesterday morning my dentist got Princess in to fill a cavity that she's been complaining about--and didn't charge us. Now he did the original filling that didn't stay, but I still expected to pay something. (Provision number 4).

So, I don't know how long we get to ride this gravy train,but I'm going to keep paying attention. How many of these things happen to me everyday that I've missed? Or have they stepped up because I'm questioning giving and provision? I know that God specifically says to test him on this and that we will receive "pressed down, shaken together and running over." So help me, I needed this lesson this month.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I had something to say...

I really did.

But for the life of me, I can't remember what it was.


Friday, October 20, 2006

You Know It Is Time....

For parental involvement in the bedroom cleanings when:

1) You are out of sippy cups even after you've unloaded the dishwasher...and you usually have so many you can just barely fit them all in the cabinet.

2) The only shoe you can find on a frosty morning is one lone pink sandal.

3) Your search for the favorite stuffed animal finds it lost IN THE BEDROOM.

4) Didn't we have more socks than this?

You know, it isn't that I can't send them to their bedrooms with the directive to "clean them." And I can often come up and find them picked up to young-un standards. But there is just something about taking over, dumping out all the bins and re-sorting the things back into their appropriate places that makes life so much easier. Sure, every night I can look under the bed if we need a sippy cup (for the inevitable nightly drink-of-water), but I won't find them. I have to sort the Polly pockets apart from the magnet dolls and stuffed animals. Then I have sippy cups and shoes in profusion.

And why do we store these things in the dress up box?

I started another great book last night. Caveat: You'll have to like the right kind of humor to enjoy it, I'm sure. I just happen to have it. The abhorent book had it's last chance yesterday and blew it. I had to give it up. But check this one out:

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Wishing on Dandelions--Oh, My!

Okay, in all truth, I didn't finish last night. I had to make myself go to bed as the pages blurred before my eyes. But I did finish this morning.

It is just achingly good.

I'm not sure whether it would be so stinkin' good if you haven't read the first (Watching the Tree Limbs) but I suspect that it would be. It isn't necessary in order to follow the story, I know that much.

Here's the thing. Watching the Tree Limbs is painful, and I simply must type the spoiler because so many people read the first five chapters and just quit because they can't stand the abuse anymore. He. Doesn't. Get. Her. Again. Yes, he keeps trying. He even gets close. Yes. But he doesn't get her again after that first hideous mess. Time and again I've had to tell people that to get them to finish the book.

Here's me: How can you leave her in his clutches? You know it has to end. Read and find out how it happens!

So I think there are people out there who won't read the second book because they are afraid it is more of the same. But it isn't. It is sweet. Sure, she is dealing with issues, and there are creeps that come in and out. But Mary isn't demented. She doesn't just torture her poor characters more than could possibly be resolved. So give it a try, huh?

I know some things about myself I didn't know before. I love Southern Lit. And this is, whether it is labeled so or not. (Funny, considering Mary lives in France.) And apparently I love to read angst. That is if I trust the author to resolve the situation. And I don't love predictable characters and situations. Just because you know how it will end (because you trust the author) doens't mean you know how it is going to end, you know? There is a difference.

So, having taken my delicious break, I encourage you to get your hands on this book. I, meanwhile, must (MUST!) choke down 11 more pages of that other atrocity so I can condemn it to the depths of my trash can.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wishing on Dandelions, again

So I've been pounding my head on shattered glass inside a tornado trying to read an (so far) atrociously bad book for review on Armchair. I promised myself I would read 100 pages before I told them "no way, no how." I've been reading for more than a week and I'm at page 89.

So last night I put it down and treated myself to a little dessert of fiction. I finally started Wishing on Dandelions by Mary DeMuth. (Okay, restarted since I did go in and make sure that General wasn't getting poor little Mara again.)

Oh. My. Gosh.

I couldn't put it down. Seriously. I said one chapter. Then I added one. And another. Shoot. I'm more pages into it than that attrociously bad book. It is so good. Near and dear to my heart. I'll give my rave review soon...probably tomorrow if last night poses any history on how long I'll have to read once I pick it up.

Or you could just go buy the book. VBG

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Just in case anyone is interested

Every year I buy an Entertainment book. If you aren't familiar with those, it is several hundred pages of coupons for dry cleaning, restaurants (buy one get one free type), mini-golf, movies, groceries, etc. The book here costs about $25. It has always paid off for me many times over.

Anyway, this year, Entertainment book is doing a promotion so that if people buy the books "through you," you get a Target gift card. Apparently it takes 10 people to get the $250 card (somewhat deceptive because they act like it is five which makes me think at 5 you get a smaller card. Who knows?). Anyway, I always buy the book anyway, so that detail didn't matter much to me. If I get it, great. If not, whatever.

These books are regional, but they have them all over the US. And if you want to help me out, use this link:

And then sign up and get your own link. You may very well have 200 friends and can get a ton, huh?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Children are Like Vultures....

...they smell you when you are going down, they circle and wait for the prime moment, then they peck at you until you give up entirely.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Why is it that you are never quite so aware of just how messy/filthy/disgusting your house is until your mother-in-law comes for a visit?

Friday I felt relatively satisfied with the appearance of the house. Sure there were a few toys strewn around. Sure I had a pile of paper on my "ledge" that needed to be dealt with. Sure, my basement floor needs a good sweeping/mopping/buffing/re-tiling. But, all in all, I didn't look at my home and see "squalor."

Entre in-laws. I see dust, not only on the top of my television, but stuck to the SIDES of the TV cabinet. Since when does dust stick to vertical surfaces? And why, when you eat out every meal, does the kitchen look like a small tornado ran through it when the weekend is over? Why, I ask. WHY?

So this afternoon after they drove away I tried to watch my Chiefs get SMASHED by the Steelers (the only team that I even half-heartedly support AS LONG as they aren't playing the Chiefs) and just breathe a sigh of relief that I didn't have to clean anything for the rest of the day.

But no.

All I could see was the dust. And the piles of CDs I never listen to. And the videos I never watch. And the laundry that I typically do on Monday kept calling my name.

Hello? A little date for domesticity to kick in, doncha think? Now that there is no one around to observe that I actually DO know how to load a dishwasher, wield a dust rag, sort unused stuff, vacuum popcorn out of the carpet.

So much for resting on the Sabbath. One, kids don't allow naps. Two, who can rest when the dust mocks them with the friendly words, "Your mother-in-law doesn't have dust growing on the inside vertical walls of HER TV cabinet!"

And neither do I, now.

UPDATE: I should note that she didn't make one ugly comment. It is all my obsession.

Friday, October 13, 2006

How To Interpret This?

"Facing a mirror you see merely your own countenance; facing your child you finally understand how everyone else has seen you." -- Daniel Raeburn

Thursday, October 12, 2006


You know, visibility is a funny thing. When you are in Wal-Mart and your child is having a fit, there are those who see you and those who don't. Those who don't generally just don't want to humiliate you further. They are what we call PC. Those who see you fall into one of two camps. Camp one are the sympathetic mothers who are generally just grateful that they aren't suffering the same dilemma. They come with a close lipped smile. Camp two are the self-righteous, generally judgmental group. I have an opinion about this group, but at risk of offending, I'll keep my stereotypes to myself. After all, I don't want to be accused of being in that camp in reverse, now do I?

So last weekend I was in the South. Again, don't want to stereotype, but just to be clear, in case you don't know, my family is multi-racial. In the South this can sometimes make for interesting interactions. Actually, I've had fewer and fewer of these interactions in the last six years. Those that I have had were not particularly ugly. I consider this a good thing. Mostly I pretend that I am invisible. Being as how I am invisible where I live, it is pretty easy for me.

(Actually, I'm sure I'm not invisible, but it is so rare that I get a pointed look or a comment, that I'm forget that I'm highly visible. I'll have to tell you about one of my very visible days here soon.)

So I walked in to my family reunion and my kids scattered to play with the cousins. I and Princess were standing at the porch fixing something (jacket zipper, I think) and an Aunt that I haven't seen since my family profile changed came up to me, hugged, talked, asked about my family, etc.. I don't remember saying anything offensive. (That doesn't mean I didn't. I do fail in this area.)

I believe we talked one other time during the day. I believe we had some sort of discussion that went something like,

Her: You only have the two, right?
Me: No, I have three. My eldest is running around here somewhere.

And then we all took family pictures so everyone could really figure out who all the kids belonged to.

So, day ends. Aunt circles through the nieces, hugging, saying her farewells. She gives pointed advice to my sister. I dreaded being next, because I expected similar advice. (I do have a growing number of children, after all.) Aunt darts out the space between my sister and I and goes around behind me to hug and farewell with some of the other Aunts. Aunt swings back into the circle of nieces and hugs the rest of them. Aunt darts out the hole between me and other niece and hops on her Harley and pulls out.


I actually pondered for a very few moments if I said anything to offend her. Couldn't think of a thing and shrugged. Put it out of my mind. Figured it was an oversight. Considering said Aunt and I never had a close relationship, it didn't really matter.

And then I awakened the next morning. Fretting. What did I do? She hugged people I'd never met before. Surely it wasn't that she just didn't feel comfortable hugging me because we weren't necessarily close. And it hit me. I stained the family. Heaven forbid we include melanin.

I became invisible. I no longer exist. (Between you and me, I barely registered on her radar long before any of this took place.)

Personally, I think our family is much more interesting for its composition. And I can't think of a better reason to be invisible. Much, much better than having the same child have a fit in Wal-Mart.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I Have a New Addiction

After months of asking various people (who have tried unsuccessfully to teach me) how to find out what Google searches send people to my blog, Tess gave me sufficient instruction. What do people Google to find my blog?

German Vowel Toppers

Boy aren't they barking up the wrong tree.

Puke. Faith. Book Reviews. The Writing Life. Whining For Sport. Tired. Crickets. Exhausted. Sleep-Deprived. Rants About Nothing. These I understand. German Vowel Toppers. One time I write about the umlaut and there I will forever be inshrined. I am falling off my chair laughing.

But I also know why people like to know these things. Makes me want to go check again.

Need a Laugh?

I got this from Tess. Still have tears in my eyes from laughing so hard.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

On the Damascus Road

Okay, I promised the puke story so here it is:

And it isn't really much of a story it just seems like it should be. You know, when you feed your children fast food and junk all weekend and stir in a very long car trip, you should expect a little puke. So we fed Frodo Sun chips and gummy bears beginning at 9:30 Sunday morning. Shocker he spewed around 3. I think it was the Frosty that put him over the top...but Hubs and I wanted one and didn't think we should deny the poor children trapped in the car seats.

Anyway, not half an hour into the winding back roads of Arkansas is when we hear it. He even warned us and we missed the signs. My bad.

The story begins here: After "we" finished with the clean-up, Hubs pointed out that we were on Damascus road. Doesn't it seem like there should be a story there? Some heartwarming faith lesson for a magazine? So the rest of the evening I watched signs and listened to conversations trying to find the faith story that I could title "On the Damascus Road."

Here is what I came up with:

I cleaned up puke on the Damascus Road. We considered visiting Devil's Den but alas it was too late. Same sad story with Pig Trail Harley Davidson. And I would have been so proud to wear the shirt. As we skidded past Suits Us Street I dissolved into a fit of giggles. Suits Me.

Bummer, I don't think that Guideposts will be buying.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Sneaky Pillow Caper

So last night, Hubs and I rolled into town just short of midnight after a full day on the roads between Hither and Yon. We were especially fond of the vomitous smell emanating from the back seat (more on that another day), but still happy to attain home.

After unloading the car and stumbling upstairs to bed, I yanked the pillow cases off our pillows that had spent many an hour crammed under feet, spilled upon, used as a desk, and in hotel rooms (anyone who has even heard of the 20/20 special knows why that is a factor). Much to my horror, one of the pillows in MY silk cases was NOT my Eddie Bauer Home Goosedown Pillow (I take my sleep very seriously). It was a cotton, perhaps poly, imitation of downy softness (and had I lay my head upon it, yes, I would have instantly known. It had been in the trunk all day).

"Oh. My. Gosh. Someone had the audacity to steal my pillow! How low is that?"

"Huh?" Asks Hubs, who is brushing his teeth.

It had to be intentional. I couldn't fathom how housekeeping could "accidentally" strip my pillowcase off my pillow and put it onto another pillow. I lost precious sleep fuming about it. When I awakened bright and early this morning I was almost immediately angry again. But, as Hubs pointed out, my sister was still staying at said hotel and could at least verify that my pillow wasn't still on the bed in our room.

It turns out that Best Western was mad at me. They thought that I'd switched out the pillows. Mine was thrown into the pile of junk pillows and replaced with a "Best Western" pillow. Apparently people do swap in their crummy pillows for these great Best Western pillows all the time and I was supposed to be grateful that they didn't charge me for stealing their pillow. I am.

But I didn't do it!

I say that if housekeeping was on top of it enough to notice the second morning that my pillow was an imposter, why did they strip off my pillowcase and switch the pillows in the first place, the first morning?

Anyway, all's well that ends well. My sister smoothed their ruffled feathers and they gave me my pillow back (highly important because Eddie Bauer Home isn't anymore...rendering my pillow priceless). I'm supposed to bring their pillow back next time I venture south.

Yeah, I'll do that. Actually, I'm so glad that I get my pillow back (and that housekeeping didn't take it!) I may even mail it.

Trust me, my pillow is worth it.

Precious Memories

Distance Traveled: 1742 miles
Tanks of gas used: 5
States visited: 4
Hours in car: 28
Kids in backseat: 3
Total days away from home: 3
Times cleaning up vomit in the sticks of Arkansas:1
Loads of laundry already this morning:2
Books read: 0
Helping grandparents celebrate their 69th wedding anniversary: Priceless

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wishing on Dandelions and Mary DeMuth

Okay, I had a really cute photo of Mary. I had a lovely photo of her book cover also. Of course, I had the link to amazon. But Blogger is wrecking havoc with my posts and explorer can't read them. I'm trying the photo free option. My apologies. If you want to see the cute photo or the cover, go google (this is so crummy I can't even put a link in!) Mary DeMuth. Follow the number one hit to her relevantprose site And we all know how amazon works, right? Go there to buy the book. I'm not even sure the photos or links have anything to do with the stupid errors. So.... Trying blogger again.

When I attended the ACFW conference, I had the privilege to attend Mary DeMuth's continuing ed class. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I got a spiritual renewal (regardless of the whining I've done over the last couple weeks). Mary is one sweet woman with good stuff to say. I even got a photo with her in all her finery that I hope to develop and post someday (that is if we both look lovely).

I was super-excited to come home to her latest book Wishing On Dandelions. And even more relieved to know that that creep General wasn't the one who grabbed her from behind in the teaser chapter at the end of Watching the Tree Limbs. Let's take a collective cleansing breath. I'll tell you my further thoughts on her latest book very soon, but today we get to look into the writer mind of Mary.

This book deals with difficult subject matter: childhood sexual abuse and its residual affects. How did this book emerge?

My passion is to write about redemption through the avenue of story. I started the first book,
Watching the Tree Limbs, in a flurry. In my mind I saw the streets of Burl and a girl who didn’t know where she came from. Because my personal story involves different instances of sexual abuse, I wanted to write a story that showed the reader how God could intersect an abuse-victim’s life and make a difference.

So, are you Maranatha?

In some ways yes, some no. Like Maranatha, I felt like God had transformed my life in such a radical way (like her name change from Mara—bitter—to Maranatha—Come Lord Jesus). Like Maranatha, I endured sexual abuse, but I was much younger when it happened. Like Maranatha, I wondered if I had been marked, that every sexual predator could “tell” I was a ready victim. I wrestled through relationships in my teens with Maranatha’s twin feelings of revulsion and attraction. But, she is not me in many other ways. She is more independent. She has no parents. She lives in an entirely different culture. She is less ambitious. She has the privilege of many wiser people to mentor her through life.

What made you decide to write a love story?

The book didn’t start out in my mind as a love story, but it evolved into it as I continued writing. Characters have that uncanny way of taking your prose and running in all sorts of directions with it. Charlie just kept being faithful. In a sense, I fell in love with him!

What made you choose East Texas as the setting for both novels?

The South fascinates me. I grew up in the Northwest. When my last child was born, my husband was transferred to East Texas to start a department in a hospital. Because I was a stay-at-home mom and home schooling, I didn’t have much else to do there except to observe small town southern culture. Because I didn’t grow up in that culture, my senses were heightened and I eventually began to really appreciate the differences.

Childhood sexual abuse is not talked about very often, and seldom covered in novels. What made you decide to write about it?

For that very reason. The more victims are quiet, the less healing they will receive. The more we talk about it, bringing heinous acts to the light, the better able we are to know we are not alone. I wrote this book so other abuse victims would feel validated and heard. And to offer hope.

Why do you end your books with hope?

Because hope is essential to Jesus’ Gospel. Even when things are bleak, there is always hope—if not in this life, then in the next. I’m not interested, however, in presenting hope in a superfluous way. I don’t want to tie up every story thread neatly. The truth is, life is tragic and difficult and bewildering, but God intersects that life and brings hope.

Have you always wanted to write?

Yes. Since my second grade teacher told my mother that she thought I was a creative writer, I’ve wanted to write. I kept a diary since the sixth grade. Though I was an English major, I didn’t start writing seriously until my first daughter was born. I wrote for ten years in obscurity before my writing career took a turn for the better.

Who are your literary heroes?

I love Harper Lee. I only wish she’d written more. Leif Enger, who wrote Peace Like a River, greatly inspired me to write visually and artistically. I love Sue Monk Kidd’s Secret Life of Bees, how you could almost taste her characters. I’m fascinated and intimidated by J.R.R. Tolkein—how he managed to create an entire world with several languages is way beyond my literary prowess.

What do you want your reader to take away from Wishing on Dandelions?

That redemption of a broken life takes time. We’re all on a journey of healing. Sometimes it’s slow going, but if we can endure through the dark times, God will bring us to new places of growth. I want the images and characters to stay with a reader for a long time.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I'm a Bum

I know it. I prostrated myself on my bed last night at 7:30. Thankfully we are back into the fall so that it was actually dark outside, but still. I'm just so tired. I know there are hormones involved. I know I'm not eating enough protein. And I think my mental stress is making my whole self shut down.

And does is count that for three weeks running either Hubs or myself has been out of town? Beginning Thursday, we'll be well on our way to four. Followed by a fifth.

Have I made enough excuses yet for failing to blog as regularly as I used to?

But let me tell you this: the last post I did about crickets shut blogger down for me (so I had to delete it), but I have another one. Considering I hate to smoosh crunchy bugs, I've gotten pretty good at it. But I'm not so good about picking up the carcass.

Crickets are cannibals. I keep walking in on another cricket eating the last cricket I smooshed. Ick. That's something you don't learn in general biology.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Poll

A fellow writer of mine has been told that her subject matter is too controversial for the CBA and she is trying to get lots of opinions in order to either bow to the gods of the CBA or counter their objection. The following is her info. If you feel inclined, email her, K?

This is a romantic suspense novel, titled Hush, Little Baby. Please keep in mind that this fictional story is woven around actual events on the topic of fetal harvesting (otherwise known as baby body parts trafficking).

If you'd like to know more about fetal harvesting, visit

Description of my manuscript is as follows:

Estranged investigative reporting couple, Evan and Amber Blake, team up to expose a baby body parts trafficking ring. Amber poses as a counselor at an abortion clinic, witnesses some abominable events, and discovers the abortionist's darkest secret. But Amber has a secret of her own. Though she longs to reunite with Evan, revealing the truth would drive them farther apart. To make matters worse, Amber is coerced into dating the doctor, and circumstances surrounding the disappearance of a clinic nurse are questionable. To break the story now would end the charade -- or become the catalyst to something far more sinister.

What makes the characters unique is they are little people (dwarves or people of short stature). I feel they are defined by these labels, and intend to show there are other important aspects to their lives.

The two questions I would like answered in your response are:

1. Would you read a book where the plot is centered around fetal harvesting, or is the concept to ugly?

2. Would you read a book with little people as the main characters, but dwarfism isn't the primary focus?

You don't have to confine your comments to only those two questions. If you want to expand on them, any extras are welcome. If you wouldn't like the subject and characters, you can tell me why. Tell me if you would be offended by any of it. But I'd like you to know that even though this book is "edgy", there is no gratuitous material in it.

If you have the time, I would greatly appreciate if you could forward this poll to all of your contacts. If you have a blog, and you feel it's appropriate, it would be great if you could post it there and have your readership direct their responses to If you belong to any organizations that I am not a member of, and it is allowed, I'd be most grateful if you could post it on their loop, and have them send replies to this address.

Thank you all again. I look forward to your opinions!


I'm not sure I have any yet.

I can tell my frustrating conference experiences without crying now. But that doesn't mean I enjoy it.

When someone asks how my weekend was. I don't immediately get teary.

Does the fact that the publisher I have wanted to pitch to for TWO YEARS asked for my MS make it any better? Well it is salve, but not entirely helpful.

Because when someone sits down, reads three pages and tells you you suck (she tempered her words, but that is what she meant, and you can't tell me otherwise) what do you do with that?

If it were an editor or agent that I was pitching to, sure, that's acceptable. They know what they are looking for, after all.

No, this was a paid critique. I paid her to read and critique 25 pages. She read three and "gave up." She said that until I knew my character, it did me no good to have the commas in the right place. While I sort-of agree, I feel gyped. My confidence was shattered. I couldn't sit across from another editor or agent for the remainder of the conference because I felt like I had nothing to pitch. I cried for hours. Including the 15 minutes at the table with an agent.

I'm sure I made a great impression.

So here's the thing. My first three pages have gotten me in a heck of a lot of doors. Most people read my first three pages and say that I have a great voice. Most editors, who want to reject my subject matter, read the first three pages and tell me to send it in anyway. I have heard for well over a year that my first three pages are great. But this year, I've heard that my first three need to go. That in chapter 2 "baby you zoom!"

So I was ready to hear that the first three needed an overhaul. Incidentally, my first three have been overhauled so much that I think that I've polished the sparkle right out. I know they are trouble. I got that. But to not even try chapter 2?


So no. I still have no perspective. I can't bear to even open the document and try, try again.

Maybe tomorrow.

Currently reading someone else:

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Sorry about the unannounced absence. I tried to get on and say I was leaving for the ACFW conference, but Blogger wouldn't work for me on Wednesday, my laptop crashed, and the stupid hotel charged ridiculous fees to use their internet cafe.

And it was probably better that I not get on anyway. Saturday was a day of angst, purse and simple.

I'm tired. Oh, so tired.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Unexpected Blessings

Today I had the good fortune to be the recipient of a big-for-me God moment. Someone who had no business buying me ANYTHING sent me a "birthday gift" that, the last time I checked was over $400.

The story is better than that and I just blew the climax.

So I got an email on my birthday that asked if I wanted a cake. As I'd already made a cake, I said thanks, but no. I'm tired of telling the kids they've had enough sugar. So a couple hours later I got another email that said she had the privilidge of buying me a birthday present and she hoped it would be delivered this week.

I felt guilty, because her husband is currently unemployed and I figured she did it because I refused the cake.

The next day I got a confirmation about a restaurant gift certificate. I thought that is what she'd bought. I sent her a thanks, you shouldn't have, email. (she had to wonder why I didn't rave a little bit more, but the guilt was talking I was thinking she should have spent the $25 on herself).

Today UPS stopped by with a Bosch Universal and a Whisper Mill. Both of which I have tried to not covet this person for for years.

She did, she really did.

And there is more to the story. In that she attends a home church, so my understanding is that instead of tithing (no building, no paid pastor...) they slate the same money "to be given away." They support children in developing countries, that kind of thing. But she said she prayed about it and really felt that this is what she was supposed to do with the money.

Last year I had a friend tell me that another of her friends said God had told her to pay their mortgage. My friend kept trying to figure out what God would have her do with her spare money of that month, because there had to be a reason that He'd bless her like that. Finally she just came down to "He just loves me."

I know there are starving children in Africa. Orphaned girls in China. Homeless in my own town. All worthy causes. I'm not saying don't give to them. But sometimes I think God just likes to do for us, where we are. And where I was was really wanting this system so that I could make homemade bread, and fast. And it just didn't get prioritized in my budge, because I could make-do with the old school method. But He reached down today, through a person that, in my earthly wisdom, shouldn't have made the sacrifice and told me that He loves me.

I am amazed.

The Redemption

This story had a great plot. Charlisse is running from something and trying to find the father she never knew. And, like any good plot twist, she is shipwrecked on a deserted island. Enter the pirate Edmund, whose behavior, incidentally, is condoned by Britain. And, like any good plot twist, his most hated enemy just happens to be Charlisse's father (who turned to the dark side sometime between his last letter home to her mother, and the present).

Obviously, this is a historical.

I thought this was a great story. Romance, adventure, excitement. Technically, the writing couldn't be faulted. It has it all. But I've decided that, quite possibly, I don't like reading this time period.

I found myself irritated at the haughty, you-are-below-my-station heroine combined with the he's-such-a-cad hero. Get over yourself people, can't you tell you will end up together? I got to the point that I wanted to scream every time I read the words cad, rogue, swagger. And I don't think this is MaryLu Tyndall's fault. I'm sure she is using the most appropriate language for the era. I've just been in a crit group (incidentally, none of them write historical) that has, for years, made fun of books that use the word "cad." And I think it is the modern books using the word that irritate them. I totally blame you for my "cad" snobbishness, Uppies, in case you care.

It isn't like she could have called him a jerk, or creep, or loser. So like I said, I don't fault the author. This was a great book with a great plot. But if you are cad-phobic, you may want to consider yourself warned.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Guy I'm Not Dating

I'm such a flake.

Sometime last month I told you that I got this book in the mail, had started it, it seemed like it was going to be cute, and I'd tell you about it when I finished. And then, apparently, the earth opened up and swallowed it from my memory. I wrote no blog, no review, no nada. Eerie considering that I usually fret until I've written about the book I've read, whatever it may be.

So, without further ado and excuses, Trish Perry's The Guy I'm Not Dating.

This was a really fun story line. Her first chapter just sucked me in. It was one of those chapters where you go, "Well of course she's published." So preferable to the "And why am I getting rejections if this stuff is out there?" I hate those.

Kara has decided after reading (though she never directly says it) I Kissed Dating Goodbye (Harris) and ending a nasty relationship, that she will no longer date. And then she meets Mr. Wonderful.

As usual, I'd say. Anytime I make a commitment, it seems to work out that way for me, too.

So, Kara and Gabe do this really cute "We aren't dating, but gosh we'd like to be" dance. It is a great plot with funny side characters and quite a bit of depth, also.

If I have anything negative to say it is that she tends to wax "teachery." I don't mean preachy, like you-should-totally-do-it-this-way. I mean teachery as in just-in-case-you-are-thinking-about-doing-this-here-is-how-one-might-go-about-it. Since I came off working with a youth group that really encourages courting over dating, I was already very familiar with the concept. Shoot, I have friends who didn't kiss until they were on stage in their wedding garb.

She also kinda gives a lesson in how to lead someone to salvation. Good in some respects, irritating in others. I know I'm shallow, but I wanted to move on with the whole Kara/Gabe plot. And even though Gabe's unsaved sister plays a vital role in that plot...I'm just impatient. Neither of these two things make the book bad. I'd say I had a lovely reading experience. I just feel like I should say that the plot (which I greatly enjoyed when it was progressing) slowed down for the teachable moments.

I still give it a thumbs up.

Sorry about my flakiness. Tomorrow I will write about M.L. Tyndall's The Redemption, another one I flaked about and never said what I thought. What is up with that?

I know, it is the age thing. I boldly entered the wise old age of 31 this weekend.

You know what they say about September babies, don't you?

Friday, September 15, 2006


Are you concerned about what is happening in Sudan? CNN is doing a spot on it tonight. Go here and leave a comment on their blog. Let them know this is a story worth covering!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Have You Seen This?

ABC's Rosie O'Donnell told a nationwide audience this week that "radical Christians" are the same as radical Muslims who piloted hijacked jetliners into New York's Twin Towers, who chop off the heads of individuals and who bomb innocent children in suicide attacks. O'Donnell made her comments as host of ABC's "The View."

"Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have separation of church and state," O'Donnell said. She had been saying that America was attacked "not by a nation." She continued: "And as a result of the attack and the killing of 3,000 innocent people, we invaded two countries and killed innocent people."

Even her liberal co-hosts were shocked by her comments. Co-host Joy Behar protested that Christians are not trying to impose mass murder on America. "This group (radical Muslims) is threatening to kill us."

Replied O'Donnell: "No, but we are bombing innocent people in other countries. True or false?"

O'Donnell was saying there is no difference between the radical Muslims who kill in the name of Allah and Bible-believing Christians who follow the teachings of Jesus.

Neither O'Donnell nor ABC apologized for the comments. Had she made similar comments about minorities or homosexuals, there would have been an apology, and she would have probably been fired.

The message from ABC is that bashing Christians is acceptable, even comparing them with murderers who kill in the name of Allah.

Take Action

Tell ABC that O'Donnell's comments deserve an apology and a reprimand.

Send Your Email to ABC Now!

Jamie here: Okay, I got this email from AFA, a source I trust. And besides my outrage and all that holy stuff, I have a logistical problem with what she is claiming.

Is it just me, or does this not make any sense? Is Rosie O'Donnell, or isn't she, an American citizen? She claims that "radical Christians" are killing innocents. And to prove her point, she talks about the war OUR COUNTRY is waging, right? So, in this "separation of church and state" country, where there are all these senators and representatives, and judges and a president...ALL OF THEM (????!) are radical Christians? (And now would be a nice time to point out all the mosques and temples around and all the head coverings and sensitivity training.) And I take it they were voted in by radical Christians? And did Rosie not vote? And if she didn't, what right does she have to complain? And by blaming the radical Christians for the innocent death that has occurred due to our country's war she isn't one, how? Because you can't have it both ways. Either our country is fighting this war, or the radical Christians are and UMmm...I'm not seeing it.

Last time I checked, this country isn't being run by the "radical Christians." If it were, I can guarantee that abortion would be illegal, and HELLO! Prayer would be legal at graduations and in classrooms, and we wouldn't be even discussing whether "In God We Trust" should be allowed on our coins!

Yes, I'm a little incensed. You can't have it both ways, sister.

Do you get what I'm saying? You don't have to agree, but do you see it? Is she a radical Christian, or is she not an American citizen? Because those seem to be the only two options she presented.

And the Night That Changed Everything

Six years ago today, we awakened with dread. "She changed her mind," I told Hubs.

"We don't know that."

"Of course we do. She changed her mind. We are going home, without a baby, again."

"Not again." That was him being literal. That's because I was over-reacting and stating mis-truths. Though we'd had a couple fall through, we'd never gotten this involved, nor had we ever driven to a pick-up. So we hadn't "gone home" devastated. We'd just sat at home, devastated.

Hubs took our luggage out to the car and stayed absent far too long. When I poked my head out the door he was on the phone and gave me the thumbs up.

Hospital, here we come!

Except it didn't work that smoothly. Because our attorney, who was facilitating the pass, lost our cell phone number. A gazillion hours later we finally connected.

And though a whole heck of a lot transpired, like meeting Eldest's mother (which we weren't supposed to get to do), and a dismissal that was supposed to happen "now" that took two hours, and an extra friend that wasn't supposed to know about the pregnancy nor the fact that Hubs and I are as Caucasian (Euro Mutt) as they come...I was introduced to my son.

In a parking lot. Under a street light. He had ringlets in his hair and he was sucking on his bandaid. And I couldn't cry.

Besides, she now had 14 days to change her mind before I could leave the state or legally claim him as my own.

But he already had my heart.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

And tonight?

Well, we'd driven across four states to hear nothing. We stopped for dinner at a Subway in Boondocks, Nowhere and noticed that their marquee read "It's a Boy!"

We took a photo, just in case it was a message from God. We certainly had no messages from our social worker, nor our attorney.

Two hours later we finally heard our phone ring, and what did he say? "Haven't heard anything. Why don't you get a room on the north side of XXXX and I'll call you when I hear something."

We didn't want a room on the north side of XXXX. We wanted to go peek in a nursery window!

We went to bed exhausted and I slept for the first time in the three weeks since I got "the call."

On what should have been one anxious night, I got pure unadulterated peace.

Regardless of the phone call we didn't receive the next morning.

The Things They Say

Frodo, today as we are walking through the automatic doors at the grocery store:

"Sank You, door."

Not once, but twice. I was rolling!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Six Years Ago Today

I was packing for my trip to the hospital. Four states away. And terrified that a woman I never met and probably would never meet would dash my hopes like so many did before her.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) I will celebrate a birth that I suffered through but wasn't even sure occurred.

A year ago I wrote the last letter that I would ever send to the woman who made me a mother. I offered more if she would just express an interest and she didn't.

I wonder if she hurts tonight?

Wherever you are, I thank you. He is a joy and a treasure. We will never forget what you did for us. You are never far from our thoughts and you gave our family more than you could ever know.

Currently reading:

Monday, September 11, 2006

What I Was Going to Say

I wrote a very stirring piece tonight. And I'm afraid to post it. Is this what we've come to?

I have maybe 5 readers. I don't know. I don't have a site meter and I'm pretty sure I don't want to have one because I'm too concerned with what people think of me even without that kind of knowledge. But for practical purposes I'll estimate 5, on a good day. If that. And most of them have similar political, ethical, and moral beliefs, I assume.

But I'm afraid to post something that I fully believe on the off chance that "someone" will pop in and, what(?), disagree? Harm my family? I don't know. Would anything I say make a difference in anyone's life? A big enough difference that they would even bother with me?

Probably not. But I hesitate nonetheless.

This is the world in which we live. And if we don't fight it, they will continue to stifle us.

Do you ever go to a professional football game, look around the stands at the 30,000 in attendance and wonder if the stadium is the next target? Am I the only one? Big new years party? Long flight? Billy Graham crusade?

Pray for the wisdom of our president and our elect. Pray for America. Pray for peace, yes, but pray.

We must not live like this.

They Want Us Dead

Because I have been encouraged to do so, and because the horror of "The Path to 9/11" is starting to wane in my memory, here is my post that I wrote on 9/11. You'll recognize a few lines, but I'll leave it unedited.

Last week I had dinner with a professing Muslim. An American Muslim. Who, ironically, currently attends a Christian church and seems to finally (after many years of prayer on the parts of people who love him) be at least questioning. I thank God for that. But that isn't what I want to write about.

He said, "They want us dead. They want us all dead. Until we are all dead, they won't stop. That's what people in this country need to understand."

He knows who our enemy is. He isn't talking about his religion in general, he is talking about the enemy America is fighting.

This man is an American. He has American children and grandchildren. He made his money in American capitalism. He loves our country. His and mine.

But he knows and understands our enemy.

You may not support our president. You may be sick of the war. You may think it is over oil, or over politics. You may think it is against Islam in general.

My Muslim friend supports the war. America's side of it. He gets it. And it is time that the rest of us get it, too. They want us dead. And they will not stop until we are. We must stop them.

I'm feeling particularly patriotic tonight. Last night I had nightmares about what life could be. It was an awful night. We have to fight this war. We have to win. We have to stop them.

Pray for our country. Pray for our leaders. Pray for peace, yes, but pray.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Where Were You?

My mom tells the story of the moment she heard that JFK was shot. She laughed. She is still horrified of her response, but she thought it was probably a hunting accident and he got shot in the leg with a BB.

That response runs in our family. Call us Pollyannas, we expect the best of people and, well, we expect people to do stupid things, also.

Five years ago I had two babies under the age of one. I hadn't watched TV in months but regularly tuned in to the local Christian radio station. When the announcer broke in and said someone flew an airplane into the World Trade Center, I laughed. Okay, really it was a snicker.

"Idiot doesn't know how to fly and flew his dinky private prop plane into the towers." I'm thinking the idiot probably died, not much else.

Of course moments later, they were saying it looked like a passenger plane. I curbed my thoughts of the "idiot" and began to feel sorry for the passengers on the plane. The enormity of what had begun still eluded me.

Plane number two hit. The radio guy said, "There are planes all over they sky flying into buildings! Turn off the radio and turn on the TV!" I obeyed.

I watched in horror for a while, but not long. I still didn't get it.

I went to the gym. Typical American. I had a routine, I stuck to it. Baby fat to lose and all. I stood on the treadmill and watched the horror unfold.

And I prayed.

But by then I was getting it. I kept waiting for the next strike. Towers falling. Pentagon in flames. And a downed plane in Pennsylvania. I didn't want to leave the gym in case something else happened in the five minutes it would take me to drive home.

I stayed glued to the TV for days. When my son turned one, we flipped off the tv long enough for him to blow out his candle and then it was back on.

Do you remember how blue the sky was when no planes could fly? Not a cloud in sight.

Just a lone lasso where the last jet turned a 180 and landed.

Where were you?

I know I'll never forget. I remember the color of the chair and exactly where I was within the room. I remember the relief in my sister's voice when I got through to her. I remember the astonishment in my other sisters voice when I called to tell her sister 1 was okay. She hadn't seen a thing. I told her to just trust me and turn on the tv. I may be a pampered American, but I won't forget. And I'll be flying the flag high.

God Bless America.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

What Looks Like A Good Deal

Today, after I dropped my kids off at school, Frodo demanded we go garage sale-ing. I know, what do you do with such a demanding child? Especially when he is demanding your favorite pastime.

He wants a "Thing" toy. You know, the Thing from The Fantastic Four. Which was popular Last Year. He all of a sudden got this Thing thing. It isn't like he's seen the movie lately or anything. He just decided he wanted it.

Not a whole lot of garage sales today. But I found one. And I was very excited to find a never used 300 in 0ne Electronic Project Kit for a dollar. It is one of those boards where you can hook up circuits etc. And I haven't given up the idea of homeschooling someday. And, being that my husband and I are both scientifically minded we would, of course, focus on scientific things once they figure out how to read.

I brought the kit home. I opened it to revel in my great buy. There is no manual. I checked to make sure all the wires were there, but...I should have known. Everything ELSE at the sale was overpriced, of course they wouldn't let a $60 kit go for a buck. So I researched it out. Contacted the company. You know what that puppy costs to replace? $20. Plus shipping.

I'm thinking about buying a whole kit off ebay, asking them to trash the kit and send me the manual.

Any other ideas?

Oh, and VAIL? I hear ya on the drive thing, but frankly, the closest midwife is 45 minutes away and would miss the birth if it went that fast anyway. I say if the baby comes that fast, bring it on!

Hubs delivered calves in his early life. He thinks he can catch this one.

Look at that. I just saved myself $3000. I wonder if the insurance company would pay him?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Rather Slow Adjustment

I think the kids and I are starting to adjust to this new life. I don't think any of us really enjoy it, but I'll take adjusted over the alternative.

I adjusted to a new book today also. I just finished a contemporary UK novel, The Undomestic Goddess, which was good, but for some reason I couldn't cross myself over and get into it. Considering I loved her Can You Keep A Secret, but didn't really care for Shopaholic Gets Married, I'd say I like Ms. Sophie Kinsella but I'll keep letting the library buy her for me. Regardless, I went straight from that to Something Light which was written in 1960. Also a UK novel. Quite cleaner. But it began so....slowly. Although I don't really mean slowly. I mean I just couldn't figure out why my friend recommended it to me. Why my friend reads almost exclusively books written in the 60s.

I know people who read contemporary. I know people who read classics. I know people who read historicals. I read them all. But I have to say that books written in the early to mid 1900s I have a really hard time with. I expect them to be contemporary enough that I don't have to use much gray matter, but they aren't. It is almost like reading a translation of something from the earlier centuries. Who knew that 40 years could make such a difference?

And, I'm not adjusting to pregnancy. I don't know what is up. I don't know why my body is not behaving in predictable ways. I don't know why nothing sounds good to me even though I'm in my second trimester. I don't know why I'm still not gaining weight, but I can't fit my clothes. I'm still mad at my "insurance" and I have no idea who is going to deliver this baby besides myself. I find that pretty hard to adjust to. Right now I am seriously considering a midwife who practices three hours from my home. Tell me I'm insane. I know it is true. But I'm failing to see a better alternative.

Anyway, I'm now wondering how my dear heroine will end up with a happy ending so I'm going off to finish Something Light. Because even if the adjustment has been slow, I've made it.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tonight Princess and Eldest were practicing our address and phone number for school. We were chanting away. And Princess's chant turned into her vowel chant aa, eh, ih, ah, uh. Which became a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, eleven, p ...

This is the same child who, at three, decided she just needed to change the melody of the abc song from Twinkle, twinkle, little star so that she could fit L, M, N, O, P in and now we have this eleven issue.

I think it was a fluke. I laughed out loud, she giggled. We'll see.

They never did get the address or phone number. Why do I live in a city where phone numbers are ten digit affairs? And my address has 7 numbers in it. It is almost cruel to make a couple of five-year-olds memorize that. Heck, I hardly know it.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Fan Mail

I got fan mail! And not just the solicited kind from my family, friends, critique buddies, and bloggers. From a stranger.



(I should tell you how worried I was about this column. Because I tend to say somewhat controversial things and expect people to agree with me...and they usually don't. So this was a pleasant suprise. Though this article was not one of my most controversial. Unless, of course, you are the woman who has four children who belong in car seats without even a seat belt.)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I Never Thought I'd See the Day

Well, it's here. The day that many asked for. It only took fourteen weeks. I got bumped up a spot because we lost one of us, but...

Here you have it, the link to my first newspaper article. I take no credit for the opening sentence run-on. I did NOT have two ands in my version. Just so you know.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

My Insurance BITES!

So after being ignored for a week by my "elder," I tried the switchboard to see if I could find somebody who could help me figure out the hoops I needed to jump through to get them to pay for my midwife.

The whole reason we've stuck with this group for this long is because they cover home birth. Except they no longer do. Because now we are a PPO. And the "in plan" providers don't do home birth. Even though this group has advocated home birth for years as a safer alternative.

So they made the exception for child number three (they weren't a PPO yet at two) and I wanted to talk to someone who could do it for me again. Except the woman who answered the phone and acted really helpful had to go to a "meeting" and transferred me to medusa-the-evil.

"So you are telling me there are no exceptions even though it will save you $4000.00?" (It really will be closer to five, but I was trying to subtract fast). She put me on hold and when she came back (even more evil) told me that if I got a certified letter from every "in network provider" within a 25 mile radius that stated that they didn't perform home birth, they would allow the exception.


Do you know how much money I would have to spend to get that many certified letters? And do you really think that I can get that many people to write the letter for me, the stranger who called, in their busy, hospital birthing schedule?

And then she proceeded to try to educate me about midwives and homebirth (as if I haven't done it twice already and witnessed several others...I'm a trained doula for crying out loud!). She said the only reason that one would hire a midwife was if one planned to deliver at home, because that is what midwives do.

I don't know where medusa-the-evil is from, but around here women hire midwives to deliver at the hospital because they don't want the episiotomy. Good luck finding one that will actually take a chance with a homebirth. And God help you if you do because no insurance would actually cover a homebirth.

I tried the silent tactic, eventually hung up on her (because I was so mad that "goodbye" may have very well sounded like a curse), and broke my phone.

Yes, I did.

And then I lay on the floor and sobbed.

Guess what bill is due tomorrow. Guess who didn't pay it. They better work something out fast or I'll start naming names. And these are actually people who, in theory, care about their "Christian" reputation.

Emily should get a raise (if she did, in fact have a meeting and wasn't just putting me off to medusa because she doesn't like confrontation). Stephanie should be fired. The verdict is still out on my absent elder. For his sake, I hope he was just on vacation this week and forgot to post an "out-of-office" auto reply.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

What to Wear, What to Wear?

So, regardless of the weight loss I think I mentioned a couple days ago my clothes no longer fit. I don't even try to hold in my tummy at the pool anymore. In fact I may even pooch it out. I want there to be no doubt.


And the thing is, most of my conference wear still technically fits. Meaning it basically covers my body and isn't uncomfortable. But when I look in the mirror, it begs the question, "pregnant? Or too much ice cream?"

Actually, probably both.

So I'm at that crazy point (second trimester starts in four days!) where I almost want to wear maternity clothes in order to answer the question. I even dug out a few things today to see if they would be appropriate for conference. But can you visualize it?

"Yes, I'm pregnant and trying to sell a novel about infertility."

I should be memorable, at least.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Ah, the truth

Today, both my kids got their name on the board. Remember when that was a huge deal? I used to want to cry. I still kinda do.

I consider myself friends with their teacher so I try to get the inside scoop and then cross examine the defense on the drive home.

"Eldest....what happened today with (kid)?"
"Do I have to tell you?"
"Yes. But I'll make a deal with you. I promise there will be no discipline no matter what you tell me." (the teacher had already disciplined so I felt relatively safe saying that. Besides, she asked if I could figure out the truth because she knew someone was lying.)
"I punched (kid)."
"And what did (kid) do?"
"He punched me back." (see this would have been the point when he should have told my why he was justified in punching, but he didn't. He just gave the series of events. Truth serum couldn't have been better.)
"But, why did you punch him?"
"He poked me."
"With what? His finger? A stick?"
"A stick."
"So you said, 'hey!' and hauled off and punched him?"
"I didn't say anything, I just punched him."

And so went the third degree the rest of the car ride home. I feel like I got the truth (they were both in the wrong). I feel like I coached both kids on the more appropriate manner of dealing with the situation. I quizzed them all day.

"If such-and-such does (fill in the blank), what should you do?"

I think soon they will be rolling their eyes at me, but for now I'm just happy I can still weasel the truth out of them so I know what to coach on.

And I have nine more months of this. (I don't even want to talk about the remaining 12 years.)

I got this in the mail yesterday. It's pretty cute.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Chapter four hit the dust!

Ha, HA! I did it!

I have faced the enemy and she is me.

I brought out my first 20 pages and ripped them to shreds. I killed clauses that were poetic because they didn't advance the story. I dropped whole sub-plots because they were preachy and not necessary.

Feeling rather smug, considering the first 20 have been read a gazillion times and I massacred it I took on the next 20.

Slash and dash, entire chapters are 86'd.

There really is something to leaving something alone for six months. In the intervening six months since I last really, truly took a good look at my baby, my novel, I decided it was rot. Unworthy. Not worth the ink it would take to print it out and fix it. Certainly not worth the effort it would take to edit it enough to actually sell it.

But see, I had to. Deadlines, you know.

And you know what? My darlings didn't need to be there. That was for my learning pleasure. And shoot, I dunno if I have it in me to fix the rest of this puppy, but heck, I feel great that I can see enough value in it that I may even talk to a few people about it at conference next month.

So in the words of someone I don't know, but quoted by Stephen King in his "On Writing," (actually I always thought it was Mr. King's statement, but I keep hearing otherwise) "Murder Your Darlings" you'll be glad you did.

And for you non-writers out there....I know I mentioned Stephen King...I'm talking about words, phrases, entire chapters of prose that sound wonderful to you, but need to visit the recycle bin--not anything living. I promise.

I don't even like to kill spiders. Ew, ew, ew.