Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My knitting group

I've been knitting for a couple of years now. My friend, Julie invited me to a knit shop out in the country. The owner Carole stays open late on Wednesdays and there's an open invitation to come knit and drink some wine. Those who gather only have one thing in common, a love of knitting. We have working knitters in their 40's, like me and some older and younger. Some of the participants are retired. Some have young families, some have teenagers and some are empty nesters. We have married, single and divorced knitters in all different socioeconomic levels. Most of the knitters have a never ending supply of stories to tell. I love hearing each and every one. Last week I heard about the history of the post office in Brownsburg. We talk about relationships, infidelity, spirituality, kids, parents, animals and I'm sure I'm missing a lot of other topics. Nothing is taboo and it's surprising how unflappable the older women are! If anyone is struggling needing advice, you can find it with this group!

The group also has started meeting outside of the yarn shop and I took some pictures at a recent Sunday afternoon gathering. The temperature was perfect and we spent the entire time on Sandy's porch. I am so lucky to know these beautiful people!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Things I want to do with my parents

I'm going to be visiting my parents soon. I don't get to see them as often as I'd like. We live about a six hour drive from each other. Since our visits are only a few times a year I like to get the most out of them. I've put together a list of things I want to do with mom and dad. I plan to use it as a check list so I don't forget anything. We'll see how well I do.....
  • Stamp and create cards with my mom
  • Learn to crochet a granny square
  • Listen to and document stories of their past
  • Discuss life, religion, parenting, family (this one comes naturally and will be easy)
  • Discuss their finances (for the sake of of curiosity and understanding and not because I think they're in trouble or plan on asking for a loan)
  • Make a plan to celebrate my dad's 70th year of life milestone
  • Get an update on my mom's health and Parkinsons progression
  • Learn some traditional Mexican songs
  • Help my dad with figure out Facebook
  • Play board games
  • Be pleasant, cheerful company and not revert to the self-centered, whininess of my youth!
Time seems to be moving faster and faster so I trying to get the most out of life and live in the moment!

Monday, July 27, 2009

You want to be a parent? You have to pass a test.

Today I read about a horrible event. A woman who was clearly not of sound mind, did something unthinkable to her newborn infant. Something that should never be allowed to happen. I don't know where things fell apart.

Before I adopted my two children, I had to go through an adoption agency's program which included interviews, questionnaires, inspections of my home, etc. I didn't resent any of it because it's important to ascertain that people are qualified to be parents before any child is placed in their care. What I want to know, is why isn't this a requirement for EVERY parent? It should be. The standards don't even need to be that high. Just verify that the people living in the home are not clinically diagnosed with mental illness, that their home is not a death trap, that they have the funds to feed, clothe, care for a child. Just basic stuff.

The other sad thing is too many people are afraid to speak up when they see something that looks wrong. I myself have seen moms lose it in public places with their kids and thought it wasn't enough to say something. Who knows? It could've been just a bad moment but it could've been something that happens regularly. At least once a day I act in ways that I am not proud as a result of my children pushing my buttons. Nothing big, just little things like lowering myself to their childish level in an argument or digging my heels in about something that I could let go. It's so hard being a parent!

If there were free ongoing classes on how to manage through parenthood, I would so be there to learn more. I feel like I'm flying by the seat of my pants most of the time. How cool would it be require all parents to attend classes throughout their parenthood years to help us be the best we can be? Then you'd be able to catch all the whack-o's who are veering off track before bad, crazy things happen.

It's just part of my plan to make this world more perfect.......

Friday, July 10, 2009

A balanced life

In the frightening amount of time I spend on Facebook, I've noticed something. First of all, I have all types of friends; those who work, those who don't, those who are parents, those who aren't, left-wing, right-wing, those who are politically apathetic. I could go on and on.

What I've noticed, though, is what kind of statuses people post versus who they are. There are parents who post about their kids and parents who never even mention them. There are people who have definite political opinions and shout them from the rooftop and others who think they might alienate others if they profess what they believe. I think that you can tell something about how balanced a person's life is by the statuses they post. I, for example, do not put a lot of time and energy into my career. I like getting paid and I do a good job but I don't get any personal satisfaction out of it. You can tell on my statuses because I barely even mention that I have a job.

That got me to thinking about the pieces of a balanced life and how much weight should be given to each of them. I don't think there is a set answer for this but what I can say is if you dip too heavy into one area at the expense of another one, it's not good. Spending too much time on a career at the expense of your family or spending too much time having fun at the expense of taking care of yourself is not a good thing. That being said, here are the categories I've come up with for evaluating whether or not you live a balanced life.

Family - the time spent with your spouse, your kids, your parents, your pets, etc.

Friends - your support system who also help in the recreation area

Career - whatever job you have, whether you like it or not, and where you want to take it

Citizenship - your responsibilities to your community and the planet (includes volunteering, being green, social activism, etc.)

Recreation - Vacations & play fall in this catergory. It's important to allow yourself to do what you want to do sometimes!

Health & Fitness - taking care of yourself so that you are able to do everything you want to do (exercise and medical maintenance)

Spiritual Growth - I originally forgot to put this on the list which shows you the priority I give it. I DO believe it is important to a balanced life, though.

I think that I live a relatively balanced life. I suppose the career aspect would become more important, if I was the major bread winner (which I'm not). Health & Fitness is another area that I could do better at attending to. I could probably shift a little energy out of recreation to devote to that!

So how balanced is your life? Did I forget any categories? Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A story my mom used to tell me

Once upon a time in a very poor neighborhood in Mexico, there lived a very cute cockroach named Cucarachita Mundinga. She longed to get married very much, but she didn’t have any money for her dowry or anything. She was a very clean little cockroach. One day, while she was sweeping the sidewalk she found a coin. She was dancing with joy thinking, “What should I do with it?” If I buy meat, I’ll eat it and it’s all gone. If buy candy, I’ll get all sticky and it’ll be all gone. “I know!” she said. “I will buy a little red ribbon and I’ll put it on my head and sit in front of my house to watch the people pass by.”

A big bull walked in front of her and said, “MOOO, Cucarachita! How beautiful you are! Will you marry me?” Cucarachita said, “How would you call me?” The bull gave a loud bellow and said “MOOOOOOO!” “Aye, no, no, no!” said Cucarachita Mundga. “That scares me!”

A while later a donkey passed by and he had long, soft ears and sweet eyes. He said, “Oh cucarachita! You are so beautiful will you marry me?” She answered, “How would you call me?” “Heee haw! Heee haw!” He answered and almost knocked her down. “Aye, no, no, no! You frighten me!”

Then a dog passed by and looking at her red ribbon said, “Oh cucarachita! You are so beautiful will you marry me?” “How would you call me?” she asked. The dog filled up his lungs with air and said “WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!” so loud that he knocked the red ribbon out of her hair! “Ay no, no, no!” because you scare me!

The sun was setting when out came a little mouse named Ratoncito Perez. He said, “Oh! Cucarachita Mundinga! How beautiful you are! Will you marry me?” Cucarachita said, “How would you call me?” “Eeek, eeek, eeek, eek.” “Oh yes! Yes! Yes!” said Cucarachita Mundinga.

So they got married and had a very beautiful wedding with Cucarachita Mundinga wearing her beautiful red ribbon on her little head.

Ratoncito Perez didn’t like to get up early in the morning. One day Cucarchita was going to church as usual and she shook Ratoncito Perez. “Please Ratoncito, I let the pot of beans on the fire.” He said, “Uhuh uhuh.” “Would you please stir them so they don’t get burned?” asked Cucarachita. “Do not use the short spoon. Use the long spoon so you can reach the bottom.” “Uhuh,” said Ratoncito, who turned over and fell asleep again. Half and hour later Ratoncito sniffed the air. Something was burning in the kitchen! He jumped out of his bed and ran to the kitchen. Sure enough, the pot of beans was bubbling. So he stood there and thought, “Big spoon; little spoon; big spoon; little spoon.....” Finally he just grabbed the closest one to him which happened to be the little spoon. He stood on the edge of the pot but couldn’t reach the beans. So he creeped over a little bit more and still couldn’t’ reach the beans. He leaned forward a little bit more and kerplunk! When Cucarachita Mundiga came back from church, she called out, “Ratoncito! Ratoncito!” Then she smelled the beans burning, so grabbing the big spoon, she started to stir them. It was then that she found poor little Ratoncito cooked in the beans!

The end.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Green Balloon Friday

There's been a call to release green balloons today to show our solidarity with the plight of Iranian citizens. You can read more about it here. Here's my contribution in western Virginia....

They're there - click on the picture so you can see 'em!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I'm at the point in my life where friends are starting to get divorced. It's scary because I feel like I'm surrounded by stories of infidelity (these politicians lately aren't helping) and I wonder if it could happen to my husband and I. I don't see how it could, though, because it's black and white as far as I can see it. When you're married, certain things are off limits. Can you think someone is attractive? Of course. Can you flirt with them? You're starting to cross the line. Can you develop an emotionally dependent but non-physical relationship? That sounds like cheating already. Can you sleep with them? What?! Are you crazy?

I hear all these rationalizations from married people. Oh, I wasn't getting my emotional or physical needs met. I had a moment of weakness. I didn't mean for it to happen. All of this is a load of you-know-what. The bottom line is the cheater is a selfish, short-term thinker with not enough self control. It's not wrong to think or feel all those things, it just doesn't justify the cheating. If you're that miserable, then you should end the marriage and THEN feel free to do whatever!

Then there's the whole "I'm sorry. Forgive me." routine. Sure you're sorry! Sorry you got caught! Where was the sorry when you were having your fun? The forgiveness thing I'm going back and forth on. It's good to forgive and let go of the anger but should you forgive something that could happen again? Is there any way to know whether or not it will? I think more often than not, people say I'm sorry and ask for forgiveness but then do not follow it up with serious steps to prevent it from happening again. My kids say "I'm sorry" automatically whenever they do something wrong. It's a reflex and they do it without any thought or true remorse. There are very few apologies given that are truly meaningful.

I've said my piece. It's easy to preach from a safe perch, which is where I'm sitting. To all of you down in the trenches: tell me if you think I'm wrong...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

observing the wonder of nature

Here is the coolest wasp/hornet/yellow jacket (help please) nest that is under construction outside my daughter's bedroom window:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What's wrong with the American education system

In Virginia, we have these exams that start in grade three and continue on each year from then on. They're called SOL's, which literally stand for "Standards of Learning" but I think philosophically stand for what first came into your mind when you read that.

The schools are accredited based on these scores and people falsely judge the quality of education at the schools from these scores. Teachers are hired and fired based on these scores as well. While I don't have any documented proof of these claims, I do have anecdotal evidence and this is a blog so, like Glenn Beck (whom I deplore), I don't back my claims by any fact checking.

So, back to SOL's. I hate what they have done to our schools. I understand that the thought process behind initiating these tests was to hold all schools and students to basic standards which is a good thing. The behavior that is rewarded by implementing these tests, however, is a drilling of facts without context and without a passion for the subject. Bottom line is it makes learning boring and is not bringing out the best in young minds. My fifth grade daughter spent a month after spring break taking multiple choice practice questions and nothing else to prepare for her social studies SOL. Can American History get any more boring? I was helping her with it, and I didn't know half of the obscure facts she needed to know!

Now that there are only a few weeks of school left and the SOL's have been completed, there is no homework coming home, my kids are watching movies in school, field day is tomorrow, and there are picnics planned for next week. So besides the three months of summer vacation, the last month of school is basically a free ride and the first month back is reviewing what they've forgotten. That means there are only seven months of true learning (and I'm keeping Christmas and Spring breaks in the learning portion)!

I'm THIS close to home schooling. I totally see why our kids fall behind so many other countries!

UPDATE (5/25/09): I just read this in the elementary school newspaper under the Opinion section. You think there's a little propaganda getting out from the teachers/administration???? I think the kids who answered "ice cream" have it dead on!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thoughts on Menopause

I was visiting a friend of mine who is going through menopause. She's 49 and has been dealing with it for awhile. Her family told me about it first because they say she's transforming before their eyes. They say she's more high strung, quick to lose her temper and very un-fun to be around. They were begging me to convince her to start some kind of prescribed medicated therapy. At first, I didn't think she had changed at all but, after a few days, I kind of saw what they were talking about (but not to the extreme they described). My friend is aware that she's not herself but doesn't want to alter this natural process that all women go through with medication.

My first reaction was to tell her family to be supportive of her wishes and leave her alone and it will eventually pass. The more I think about it, though, I wonder if that's the way to go. If I change so much that I'm making my family miserable, I think I would consider drug therapy. Especially since I now realize that menopause lasts for years and years. I started to think of it in the context of any kind of illness. If you're sick and there's a drug to help, shouldn't you take it? The reason I hesitate, though, is because I think that our culture makes us susceptible to quick drug fixes (think ADHD, diet pills, etc.) rather than the slower, more disciplined approach of correcting our problems naturally. Then there is the other extreme of those whackos who let their children die while praying over them rather than medically intervene to save them with simple modern day cures.

I guess, when it's my turn, I'll have to decide on some middle ground between these two extremes and hopefully won't change that much when I start my menopause. I think the first thing I'll do is a happy dance at not having to buy birth control pills, maxipads and tampons anymore!

If any of you have advice on natural ways to deal with menopause that I can pass on to my friend, I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, April 3, 2009


so....... yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh......... um...... how are you?........... me? good......... yeah, well............... not much new to say............ is my blog dying?........ maybe............ so, um, i guess that's it............. um........... bye............

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Message to the Palestinians

My husband laughed at me for doing this but I think it's pretty cool! If you go to this website, you can pay a nominal fee and they'll spray paint your message on the barrier wall between Israel and Gaza. My husband thinks they photoshopped it and it's some scam being run in Pittsburgh or some less exotic place but I'm thinking it's legit.

Anyway, the purpose of my message is to let the Palestinians know that I am thinking of them and wish them happiness. Of course I want the Israelis to be happy too. I wish they could both find a way to do this.

My messages says, "Ellie in the USA wishes Palestians could move freely & be happy." Here are the photos they sent me (they guy spraying it is kinda cute):

Click on any of the photos to enlarge....

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Earth hour is coming

I've been going back and forth with a few people on global warming. I am not a scientist but neither are they. I think that unless you're really, really smart, you'll never be able to sift through all the data and form an informed conclusion. In fact, even if you're I.Q. is through the roof, you still might not be able to do it. That being said, I think it's happening and it concerns me.

For those of you out there who are shaking your heads and thinking it's not so, I have a question for you. Even if you don't believe that the earth is warming, shouldn't you still do what you can to pollute less or be more "green?" You might not believe it will have any impact on the climate change but it sure wouldn't hurt it either, would it?

Now that we have that settled, everyone watch this cool promo video for Earth Hour. It's happening on March 28, 2009 at 8:30pm. Everyone shut your lights off for one hour. If nothing else, it'll look really cool from space! You can even go to their website and make a pledge to do so. If you need another reason to do it, here's the last one I'll list: Do it to make Ellie happy!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Blog Malaise

Yesterday, my sister-in-law rightly pointed out how Facebook has drawn my attention away from my lovely blog. Last year, the same thing happened with MySpace but it didn't last because MySpace turned out to be a very sad, place full of narcissistic people taking risqué pictures of themselves. Facebook is much more fun and I've found a TON of old childhood / high school / college / past work friends (and a few old boyfriends - harmless because there are none of the old feelings left and I am happily married, OK?). All of you readers of my blog should join! Anyway, for those of you who don't "facebook," here's just a week's worth of my life through status updates:

  • Ellie is wearing her jelly bean necklace so it's gonna be a good day!

  • Ellie thinks VMI's new lunch spot is awesome and almost peed her pants because there's a Quiznos in it!!!!

  • Ellie is reliving her battle with the intestinal bug vicariously.

  • Ellie just spent $2.84 at Goodwill to entertain her kids for the rest of the afternoon!

  • Ellie is blinded by the whiteness!

  • Ellie is listening to her daughter sing "What I Like About You" on the karaoke machine. She's pretty good!

  • Ellie doesn't want to start any blasphemous rumours.......

  • Ellie has had a change of heart and decided she shouldn't pass judgement on Sunday morning stoned guys.

  • Ellie saw some robots today and was relieved they didn't stage an uprising.

  • Ellie wants her mom. Mamita....¿Dónde está usted cuando estoy enferma?

  • Ellie is Blago got Burris' son a job?! C'MON!!! Resign already!!!!

  • Ellie HAD to add salt to her low sodium soup......
  • Ellie thinks those raised as only children should be required to enroll in sharing seminars.

  • Ellie just ate a ham sandwich on Ash Wednesday! D'oh!!!
  • Ellie is putting on her nurse hat today but promises not to call anyone "pathetic."

OMG! That means I change my status 2.14 times a day! Besides doing that, I am checking out everyone's pictures, posting my own pictures, IMing, posting links & clips, commenting on everyone else's stuff, taking care of my SuperPoke Pet (it sounds ridiculous, even as I'm typing it), giving out virtual gifts. I'm out of control! Cheri is right!!! No wonder my house is such a mess!

I plan on getting a grip soon, just one more quick peek at Facebook......

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Right Way to Age

I just turned forty-four last month and will be lucky, if I make it to eighty-eight so, given that, it seems my life has already reached the halfway point. It's morbid to think about and most people would rather not but that's not me. I've become more diligent about taking care of myself in recent years - at least doctor-wise. I recently went through the required six month dental exam, and the always fun pap smear exam. I came out with referrals to schedule a dermatology appointment for my sun damaged skin, and a mammogram as well as some physical therapy for my right arm which isn't quite right. Man, do I sound old, or what?! While I recognize the importance of a healthy diet and exercise, I have much room for improvement in these areas. All these things, I know, will help me prolong my life and achieve a better quality of life in my remaining years but here's the thing.....

If I do all the things that I'm supposed to and have a body that is in peak condition in my senior years, I could very well have a brain that doesn't keep pace. Then my old brain will be trapped in a very healthy body with years and years to go. I've seen it happen and it's awful!

So, should I worry about flossing, less exposure to the sun, eating rabbit food all the time, working out, drinking less, and all the other un-fun stuff I'm supposed to be doing or should I throw caution to the wind and go out and do what I enjoy? Or is there a balance? That's what I'm trying to come to terms with now.....

Go ahead! Give me your 2 cents!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My birthday present

Today I'm another year older. I'm not really reconciled to the aging thing but had an experience today that made me grateful to be where I am in the whole life voyage. I made an appointment to make my 44 year old self feel younger and did the whole haircut/dye/highlight thing. My regular hairdresser wasn't working today so I went with a younger cosmetologist. She told me her age (20) and I did some mental math and came to the realization that I could be her mother. She was a sweet girl and we talked about each others' lives, TV, and local gossip. To hear about her life, I recalled my life at 20. It was during my heyday at Ohio State. I had not yet met my husband. I was basically still a kid who did not take college seriously, nor did I behave responsibly in much of the rest of my life outside the classroom. Thank goodness I did not make any life altering decisions about career/spouse/life at this time because I am not anything like that person now. In listening to her current experiences, I tried to temper my advice and opinions because I knew my twenty year old self would never listen to the me that I am right now. I don't think I interacted with many women twenty four years older than me at that time anyway (except maybe my mom).

Anyway, to Summer, I dedicate this post. You gave me a perfect hairstyle/color which made me feel younger, and, at the same time, made me appreciate being the age I am! Could I wish for a better birthday present?

P.S. This post is also dedicated to Judy who wants me to update my blog, already!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Set the frump factor dial to high!

I've outdone myself in frumpiness today. Maybe I'm feeling old because of my impending birthday. Check out the different elements of the look I've pulled together for today:

A frumpy hairstyle that allows me to go one more day without washing my hair.....

A frumpy shapeless sweater.....

Pleated pants that I either need to lose weight to wear or buy a larger size.....

...and need to be a little longer to cover the hideous frumpy sensible shoes......

...and here is the final result. Ultimate frumpiness!

Friday, January 16, 2009

A message from last year's me!

I posted something last year about receiving a message from one-year-younger me. I got another message today. In it I say:
I'm so hoping that the next time I read this Barack Obama will be our president! Is he???
I love answering that one!

Here are some other highlights:
I'm at *** lbs. lately, I'm hoping this message finds me way lighter! HA!

I'm working on getting a new roof for the house, getting it painted, finishing my son's room, getting a kitchen table, painting the great room and cleaning up the garden.

On January 19th in 2007 & 2008 I've colored my hair purply red. Will I do it again???

I hope I'm not feeling like a total failure when I read this again.....

I still like you, though, future me!
Good thing the past me likes me because I'm not lighter, I still haven't finished my son's room, got a kitchen table or cleaned up the garden! I'm calling today to get an appointment to get my hair colored!

I love these messages! I'm going to go send future me another one now!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My poor uneducated son!

Last night, I let me ten year old daughter stay up thirty extra minutes to read. This did not go down well with my seven year old son who was told to go to bed. What followed was an emotional plea using his most persuasive arguments to try and convince us to change our minds and let him have the same privilege. It was so hard to listen with a straight face but it went something like this.

"You don't care about educating my mind because she gets to read books with new words and is learning new words and I have to go to sleep." (note: his choice of reading material was a Lego catalog that he's looked at and studied for about twenty solid hours already) "I'm horrible at math and Adam can do it way faster than me and you don't care about my mind's education at all and he will always be better than me. All I want to do is educate myself and you let her get smarter but not me. You make me sleep and sleep won't help me get smarter."

I kept having to look down while he ranted because if he saw the smile on my face this would've enraged him further. When he was done with me and realized I wouldn't budge he then began the process all over again with dad. This went on for about thirty minutes so he DID get to stay up afterall! I guess he got us!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Walmart is scary!

I know I'm being lazy and not posting like a should. Most of what I want to write about is off-limits, though (family rules). In the meantime, you have to see this. I am a victim of a Walmart exclusive town. There is literally not another choice. This video graphically shows you their frightening expansion:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Saying goodbye

Goodbye Mr. President. I must respectfully say that I am so happy to see you go and will try to pretend the last eight years were a really bad dream. It's the same kind of feeling I had when Ohio State fired football coach John Cooper and hired Jim Tressel but on a much larger scale....

This video from 23/6 captures his term in office quite nicely, I think!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Gaza conflict resolution

Tim Minchin is awesome! He's talented, smart, funny, sexy and has a cool accent! Not only that, but he has the solution to this mess in Gaza. I am so fed up with the adolescent logic on BOTH the Israeli and Palestinian sides about who started it and why they HAVE TO do what they're doing. All their arguments are lame and the need to figure out how to get along and stop making innocent and even non-innocent people suffer. That's why Tim's solution is so great! After you watch this, go to YouTube and check out his other stuff! My favorites are Canvas Bags, Not Perfect, If I Didn't Have You and Take My Wife. Enjoy!

And don't forget to.......

Monday, January 5, 2009

Ohio State prediction


Show all those lame-O's out there who think we don't have a chance that they're WRONG!!!!

Show the rest of the Big 10 (except Iowa, of course) how a Big 10 team is supposed to play a bowl game!!!!

My final score prediction: Ohio State 24 & Texas 17

Sunday, January 4, 2009

An anniversary

A year ago today, we brought Pichu home. The past year has been a blur. I must've swept up about one ton of dog hair, picked up about a million poop piles, taken him on a gazillion walks. Still, my kids love him and I miss him if he's not here. I guess all in all, it's been OK, and there are no regrets. Scott will be taking his "you-got-a-dog ski trip" next month......

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year Stocking???

I finally finished my Christmas stocking. I'm doing one a year and this one is for my daughter. I believe I'll try felting it one more time - such a messy process! After it's shrunk a little more, I'll sew on the jingle bells at the points. I'll start my son's a little earlier next year....