I am currently on a computer sabbatical. Although I will probably get a couple of blog posts up. Hopefully.

hp binder

Many, many years ago (20+) in a state far, far away (California) I worked for a company called Hewlett-Packard. Maybe you've heard of them. One weekend, I worked some overtime, entering credits for customers. Unfortunately, instead of continuing to type with two hands and using the numbers at the top of the keyboard, I cranked out the work on the ten-key side. While I don't recall my speed anymore, I really rocked a ten key back in those days, entering over 300 credits in a few hours. That was when it all began - pain in my wrist, elbow, arm, and shoulder.

Since then, I've had a variety of pains, numbness, tingling, and other issues anywhere from my fingertips to my lower scapula up into my neck and base of my skull. It's a relatively normal thing for me, so while it may be uncomfortable, I mostly just put up with it. Sometimes, my massage therapist and/or chiropractor work on it. I know the things that cause me trouble, so I make some effort to avoid them or at least not overdo it. Sometimes, not so much.

The past couple of weeks have been pretty bad. I've had both extra chiropractor and massage appointments. It's much better, but as soon as I get on the computer, it gets bad. Quickly.

Today I was helping Caleb pick up ratty apples in the backyard and it hurt to even do that. UGH. So it was off to the chiropractor - again - especially since her office won't be open again until Tuesday. I told her I had already decided that I need to take a break from the computer beyond things that I absolutely have to do. She agreed that was a good idea. She also gave me a schedule of icing and ibuprofen for the next 5 days. Which I will adhere to, because I am sick and tired of this pain.

first aid

Some days I think I should just work on becoming left-handed so I could give everything on my right side a much longer break. It seems that everything I enjoy doing requires my right hand/arm, which is kind of frustrating these days. So it's time to take a break from much that aggravates my upper right appendage. I hope to get a few blog posts up, but that'll be the only recreational computer time for now.

Of course, a week or so away from the computer will probably be very good for me. And my household. And my family. I may even accomplish some much-needed things around here.

p.s. - I think this might have to apply to some of my iPhone activities, too. Sigh.



Wordless Wednesday - Pink

crocheted seat
For more wordlessness, check out Live From Waterloo and the Wordless Wednesday hub.


25 Random Things

Thank you, Lisa of Pennington Point fame, for giving me something to post on Monday. I haven't participated in a random post meme in eons. Or years. Or something. Anywho, that's irrelevant, right?

So 25 items of randomness about me. It is all about me, after all, right? HA!

  1. I love to write letters, but I pretty much never do, as I have no one to write to and no one who will write me back.

  2. I was a Stampin' Up! demonstrator for 7 years

  3. It is almost impossible for me to not take notes during a church service, teaching, event, and other such things where someone else is talking and I'm there to learn something. I'm a crazy, copious note taker.

  4. I love the flavor of onion in food, but cannot stand to eat them. It's all about the way they feel in my mouth.

  5. I can't fall asleep laying on my right side.

  6. At Christmas, I like to wrap gifts with paper and bows. For birthdays, I prefer to use gift bags with tissue paper.

  7. At Starbucks, I order an iced venti nonfat chai and a venti cup of ice to go with that.

  8. I'm fine with washing and drying the laundry, but when it comes to folding or hanging up, you'd think it was my kryptonite.

  9. I used to love having long fingernails and keeping them polished and manicured. Now I can't stand it when they get even a little long. I promptly clip them off.

  10. I have a lot of undeveloped film.

  11. SPAM and mac-n-cheese used to be one of my favorite meals when I was young.

  12. I learned to change a tire when I was 11.

  13. Because I grew up in the garage with my dad.

  14. I was one of two girls who took auto shop my sophomore year of high school.

  15. I used to live just fine on 2-4 hours of sleep a night.

  16. I no longer have that ability. My body rejects that notion and wants 7-9.

  17. I had an enormous Hot Wheels collection as a young girl.

  18. I also had a Batman sticker on my Barbie case.

  19. I used to torture my sister by taking her picture all the time. I think this was a sign of things to come.

  20. I also once taped her eyes shut with Scotch tape.

  21. I used to eat unsweetened baker's chocolate. Thus began the love of dark chocolate.

  22. I played basketball in junior high. Not because I was that interested, but my best friend went out for the team and drug me along with her. It turned out that I really enjoyed playing, though. I was the second tallest girl on our team, so I was usually the center. I once gave an opponent a black eye in a game and it turned out that her mom was a friend and coworker of my mom's. Many years later, she was also my neighbor.

  23. I spent my 14th birthday in Mexico City on a 9th grade Spanish field trip.

  24. When I'm not in Colorado Springs or Denver, I tend to be directionally challenged, because I learned the directions based on the fact that the mountains are west. When I moved to California, nothing made sense for awhile - the mountains were west (or so it seemed to me; they were actually east) and the ocean was west. I didn't know what to do with the other directions.

  25. My parents had to take me out of my crib before I was a year old because I would climb out and come downstairs and sit quietly in the doorway watching them play cards with friends. They figured that falling off the top of a crib would be worse than falling out of a toddler bed.

If you'd like to join in the random fun, leave a link to your post in the comments. The more, the merrier!


Manitou - the Penny Arcade

photo booth outside

photo booth inside

After lunch, we dropped by the Penny Arcade and YES, the photo booth was in working order! John and I have taken pictures in there a couple of times in years past, so this was very exciting to me. Of course, we inserted our three dollars in quarters so that we could have the little strip of paper with four dark, slightly fuzzy photos of ourselves.

penny arcade sign

penny arcade window

John exchanged some green money for quarters and we hit the games. There's just about anything and everything at the Penny Arcade - rides, racing games, Ms Pac Man, and even the original Donkey Kong. You can shoot pool, play air hockey, look at yourself in warped mirrors, and earn tickets playing Skeeball. And then there's the room with the antique games. Like English Football, peep shows, love meters, shooting games, and pinball.


english football

penny football

baseball pinball

me mirror
My personal favorite - the slimming, hipless mirror.

We also picked up some Patsy's Saltwater Taffy. They've been there long since before I remember and it's always a treat to have some of the best taffy around.

patsys sign

patsys taffy

If you jumped in this story in the middle, here are the other two parts:

Pizza at Marilyn's

Mr Rockey

Manitou - Marilyn's Pizza

marilyns outside
We did end up spending a good portion of yesterday in Manitou Springs. First up, lunch at Marilyn's Pizza, where you can get a pizza of incredible flavor. I again had the Five Cheese pizza - Mozzarella, Cheddar, Feta . . . and I forgot the other two. Probably something along the line of Romano, Parmesan, or Asiago. All that cheesy goodness is layered atop a basil pesto sauce and thin, homemade crust. Makes my mouth water to just think about it. Fortunately, I have leftovers that I'll be having for lunch.

marilyns inside
In addition to fantastic pizzas, Marilyn's is quite the tribute to Ms. Monroe. There are photos and posters galore of her - some familiar, others not so much, an old refrigerator towards the back with small images of Marilyn glued/ModPodged over the entire thing, and everything is purple (except outside, which is pink). I'm not sure how purple evokes Marilyn, but that's okay. It's fitting for Manitou which is a quirky, artsy, touristy, sort of town.

zach bike
A bike too big even for my 6'1" son, Zach.

dulcimer dog
Dog in the doorway of the Dulcimer Shop

This is actually a multi-part post, since I had so many fun photos, I thought I should split it up a bit.

The other posts:

The Penny Arcade

Mr. Rockey

Manitou - Mr Rockey

After playing at the arcade, we wandered around in tourist mode, checking out the variety of shops and chatting with the locals. Some places offer your run-of-the-mill tourist type products, while others have interesting and unique items - mostly pieces of art.

rockey building
Speaking of art, I was so thrilled to find that Charles Rockey was in his studio today. This building used to house his massive art collection* and I believe is his home. I can't even begin to tell you all the forms of artwork that he's created during his 80 years, but my favorite thing about Mr. Rockey is that he was my art teacher in junior high. You could not ask for a better art teacher. He was always about creating with whatever was available (long before people were talking about recycling, reusing, and repurposing).

mr rockey

He's drawing on the cover of his church's weekly bulletin. There's a sketch of the church on the cover and he adds to it on a new bulletin every week. He has about 200 of these now.

The door to his studio was open, so we poked our heads in and received a warm welcome. While he's been known for his paintings for some years now, when I was in his class, we created beautiful frames that were made from cardboard, tape, goop, and paint. Goop was this clay substance that he created. On our frames, it was used to look like an ornately carved frame. Once painted, you had no idea that it was clay. We also made little people that were only 2-3" tall out of wire, masking tape, goop, and paint. He has this huge, amazing tree which featured homes, porches, bridges, and a multitude of those little people. It was such an honor that he taught us how to make them. His entire tree was on display at our local Fine Art Center for a time.

It's always fun to go out to Manitou, wander around, and enjoy the day together as a family. And this time was even sweeter, getting to visit with Mr. Rockey. Ironically, he said three other people had stopped in to say that they were in his art class in junior high, too. Of course, he taught for 30+ years, so I imagine there are quite a few of us still around.

rockey styro man
Ever the artist, there's no surface on which he won't draw.

* - because of the burn scar left after the Waldo Canyon Fire, there are flooding dangers in many areas in and around the western side of Colorado Springs, including Manitou. Mr. Rockey said he moved much of his collection elsewhere due to the flood warnings that will continue for another ten years.

The other two parts to our day in Manitou are here:

Marilyn's Pizza

The Penny Arcade


Mini Staycation

I'm writing this in advance, so I can't really tell you what we're doing. But John took a few days off of work so we could have a little family fun together. Last year, we went to Glenwood Springs for four days. This year, John needed Thursday to do some catching up for work, which is good, so he can enjoy his time off without those things hanging over his head.

Since I don't know what we're doing the day this posts, here's a list of possibilities:

1. Lounge around in our PJs, playing board games (Settlers of Catan, Monopoly, Sorry, etc.), eating snacks, and listening to Elvis, Blues Brothers, The B52s, or something else upbeat and fun. {Side note: Zach, this child I gave birth to, doesn't like blues! What is wrong with him? That means our fun music will likely not include blues, or if it does, it will be minimal. How sad is that?}
Settlers, Cities & Knights, and Seafarers
A previously played board.

2. Head out to Manitou Springs, play games at the Penny Arcade, take photo booth pictures (if it's in working order), wander around the shops, and eat lunch at Marilyn's Pizza.

3. Play miniature golf.
5 years ago. When our boys weren't yet as tall as a dinosaur.

4. Have a Psych or Monk marathon, courtesy of Netflix.

5. Something else, not yet considered.

Regardless of what we do, it will be great to have some time together, just enjoying each other's company, being silly, and having fun. I'll be sure to post about it and there'll be pictures, of course. Even if they're just pictures of PJs, snacks, and game boards.

Enjoy your weekend!



This past Saturday, my family and I helped out a friend with some yard work. She's a single mom, works full-time, and gets harassed by someone in her neighborhood over the condition of her yard. They report her to the city and the city threatens to fine her if she doesn't deal with the yard. On Sunday, I was talking about this with my pastor and he said to let him know if we needed more help and gave me his phone number. We did end up going back to help her some more on Sunday, so I texted him. He and his wife had to stay at church for quite some time to help someone, but he got the word out to the elders and they were working hard to get some people out to help us.

So John and I were just finishing up our portion and he was tying down the tarp on the trailer when a guy and his son walked up to the house. I assumed they were from our church and asked him such. But I used the church's acronym. The guy said, "what?" and I repeated myself. He replied with something that sounded right (we've only been at this church for less than two months), so I introduced myself and John to him and his son. I gave him a brief rundown of what was left to be done and I took him inside to meet my friend. When we went inside the house, his son (young teenage) walked through a couple of people and went downstairs. I was slightly shocked at this, because I couldn't imagine walking into the home of someone you don't know and just heading downstairs. Like you would even know where you were going? Weird.

So I introduce him to my friend and she kindly informs me that he is the HUSBAND OF ONE OF HER FRIENDS who is already there helping! What a BRAT! That's what I said. Aloud. And I smacked him on the arm, this guy I had only met minutes before.

He has quite the sense of humor and the opportunity presented itself, so he just ran with it. Dragging me along at the other end. Fortunately, I also have a good sense of humor and so we all had a great laugh over this. Even my husband, who heard the whole thing through the open dining room window.

Even funnier, is that I'm not usually easily sucked into things. So for me to get pranked - intentionally or accidentally - was rather hilarious.


26 Years and Counting

Today, John and I celebrate 26 years of being married. To each other (that's a good thing!). It has been such an incredible journey and I am more in love with him than ever. We love hanging out together, whether it's deep, late-night conversations or just sitting next to each other doing our own things on our laptops. I'm so grateful that after these 26 years and raising our two boys (now 18 & 17) that we still have such a great time together.

I would recount how wonderful he is, but I already did that last year. And the year before. He's still every bit as terrific.

A few years back, we attempted to play the Anniversary Game. That was a teeny bit challenging, but we pulled together this list. Here's the addendum to that one.

2008 update - Yes, we did buy a house, after making offers on seven houses total

John - Started MD for RVs, providing mobile RV service
Me - The Gremlin Wrangler and her family came to visit

John - Bought his first gun
Me - Stayed up crazy late with Zach to photograph the lunar eclipse

John - Got the jeep back on the road after the motor swap
Me - Mom & I saw BB King in concert
Also watched Zach face his fear of heights and win!

John - Bought his wife's first gun
Me - Started my photography business

We've now been married for more than half of our lives. Well, I have been. John has a couple months to go. Robbed the cradle by 5 months. Ha! Ha!

It's been awesome and I can't wait to see what the future holds for us.

Happy Anniversary, Honey! Love you like crazy!!


Wordless Wednesday - Dried

dried rose

Check out more wordlessness at Live From Waterloo and the Wordless Wednesday hub.


Life Still Happens

This post is from August 7, 2009 - three years ago. I thought it was a good perspective reminder as I begin to prepare for my last year of homeschooling. Hard to believe it's here already. But I think I've learned a lot along the way with my boys. Maybe I'll dig through some of my journals and older posts and see just what I have learned during these past seven years.


I can't believe we're about to begin our fifth year of homeschool! My word, it goes fast. Having not begun until 6th grade for each of our boys, my journey will only be a grand total of eight years (they're a year apart, grade-wise). In the beginning, I remember listening to people who'd homeschooled longer than me and thinking that I couldn't fathom being that far into this. It appeared much longer than it really is. I'm right at the half-way mark of this season of my life. Three more years with ClayGuy and four with the Comedian.

How I think homeschool should look - organized, attentive, and color-coordinated.

By the end of each year, I usually feel as if I did a pretty crummy job. Thus the Slacker Middle School references. Somehow, it's too often human nature (and maybe mom nature) to see the worst because we know what we should have or could have done. I only include others, because I've heard too many similar stories.

How homeschool usually looks!

Not to excuse my own poor choices, but one thing you learn quickly about homeschooling is that life still happens. And sometimes it impedes upon your school plans. The first year of homeschooling (2005-06), we moved out of our house of 11 1/2 years (October). I also had one child in public school and one home with me. Being my first homeschool year, I was just trying to find my way in this new phase of life. ClayGuy and I had both educational fun and serious tempers and head-butting. While moving didn't take the entire year, when things get off-track early on, it can be a challenge to recover that ground.

The second year (2006-07) brought my youngest son home. I was to discover that his learning style and perspectives are completely different than mine or ClayGuy's. That, in and of itself, presented some challenges. Add to that the oftentimes poor interaction between the two of them and my need to referee, and there were days when it seemed as if we did nothing more than deal with behavioral issues.

That year there was also an outside commitment that quickly became an over-commitment. I found myself entrenched in something that bumped homeschooling off the top of the priority list, which was incredibly frustrating and guilt-inducing.

In our third year (2007-08), we got off to a pretty decent start. Once we passed the holidays, however, we made the decision to start looking for a house to buy (part 1 and part 2). I have no idea how many houses we looked at, but we made seven offers. It was a long year. Of course, when you're planning to move, you also have to plan on packing. So in addition to school, regular life, and house hunting, I was now purging stuff (so we'd hopefully have less to move) and packing. We still had no contract going into summer, so this continued.

Our most recent year (2008-09) found us still house hunting and eventually moving in September. Obviously that does put a dent in the school plans. No matter how good your intentions are, they just don't pan out the way you anticipate. On a good note, I think my boys learned something about teamwork, lifting, moving, organizing, and such. Again, it didn't waylay the entire year, but it significantly altered life. In addition to getting out of the old house, there's so much to do when you arrive at the new house. And then the holidays arrive. And then you find that it's January and you're finally getting back on track.

I don't say this to be depressing or excuse away the times that I didn't do what I should have, but it's more a reminder that life will happen. I know there are others who had even more significant disruptions. But as I begin planning the upcoming school year (2009-10), I need to remember this. I need to schedule some downtime here and there. I need to cut myself a little slack sometimes, recognizing that not everything will go according to my plans. While that can be more than a little frustrating for a control freak like me, I am comforted by the fact that I know and serve the God who does have everything under control. He's not surprised by these life events. My future is safe in His hands. I need to not be stressed out when they happen, but trust in and seek Him and what He would have us do.

A man's heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.
Proverb 16:9



I love to laugh.

And giggle.

Sometimes I do it a lot. Sometimes giggling makes me giggle more. Sometimes things that aren't funny to anyone else are hilarious to me. The more I think about them, the funnier they become. My youngest son thinks I'm crazy. I don't know why neither of our kids acquired my sense of humor. Silly boys.

I think, however, that when my boys are being serious and I think they're being ridiculous, I should probably try to restrain myself. But sometimes I giggle anyway. Remember my sense of humor they don't have? That usually means they leave the room a little peeved with me. It's hard to be authoritative when you're laughing.

That happened tonight with one of the boys who shall remain nameless. But I will have the last laugh.

Have a great weekend! Have a laugh or two on me.


A Clean Room

My son cleaned his room last week.

That might not sound like much, but we're talking about the best cleaning he's ever done in his entire 17-year-old life. It was actually an answer to a very frustrated mom's short and spontaneous prayer. He not only cleaned up, he went through EVERYTHING in his room. This is the kid who has had an emotional attachment to anything and everything he's ever owned, along with his various collections (pop bottle caps, Bazooka Joe bubble gum wrappers, rocks, etc.). Getting him to let go of things has been next to impossible.

But somehow, now that he's 17, he's realized that he would like the space more than the stuff that doesn't hold any value any more. He probably got rid of 80% or more of his belongings. I hung out with him the entire day, offering encouragement or answers when he wanted them, never once playing the mom card ("See, now isn't that better?", "You should just get rid of that." "You never play with that anyway.", "Are you really going to keep that?!?"). I just asked him questions and let him make all of his own decisions. If he wanted input, I merely presented options and left him to decide.

While it wasn't intended, he actually ended up with a new bed, mattress, pillow, and bedding. And guess what? He sleeps better and more comfortably. Not only that, he enjoys being in his room now. He has desk where he can play cards, tinker with things, clean his rifle, or whatever else he wants to do. The cat loves to come hang out with him while he lays on his bed reading or listening to music. There is actually open floor space. It is nothing short of a miracle.

And even though eight days have passed, it's still in great shape.

And there was much rejoicing!


I offered that we could paint his room, but he said, "no." So it's still white.

And we still have Navy blue black-out curtains to hang over that window. One of these days.

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