Wednesday, November 30, 2016



A few days ago, there was an attack on a college campus in Ohio.  I hate hearing these things, especially since I have a daughter in college.  It makes me wonder if she would know what to do in a circumstance such as that.  It makes me sad that I would even have to consider teaching her what to do in a circumstance such as that.  We think we have prepared our children to face the world, but how can we ever prepare them to deal with that kind of crazy?

     One of the most notable things to come from this situation for me was a young woman talking about some 'military guys' who took charge of the classroom and set themselves between the door and the other students as guardians.  My first THOUGHT was how lucky this young woman was to have such men in her classroom.  My first EMOTION was anger.  Uncontrollable, irrational, insuppressible FURY. 

     It began after I envisioned these selfless young men putting themselves in harms way for a classroom full other humans. Imagining those other humans is what put me over the edge.  I envisioned an arrogant, skinny-jean-wearing, useless, coward huddling behind his desk, waiting expectantly for the men to save him, yet ready to condemn violence in these same men as they prepared to do what was necessary to protect his life.   I imagined all the student protesters, who know very little of personal sacrifice and the hardships of "real" life, but have unchangeable and loud opinions about things they are barely old enough to even consider, much less understand.  The narrowness and arrogance and stupidity of these entitled, kneel-at-the-National-Anthem type of people is appalling to me.  I was imagining one of my sons putting his life on the line for people who hated every single value he held dear and it made me angry-seriously angry. 

     It's nuts how that anger consumed me for a minute.  I forgot who I was in that minute.  And then I remembered-I AM that trifling, no good, entitled, whiney brat.  I am that person who is ungrateful and selfish and ignorant about so many things.  I am also that useless, opinionated woman for whom someone sacrificed himself. 

      Jesus did that.  For me. 

     My outrage at the coward turned to gratitude when I realized the coward is me.  Jesus set himself at the door to take my judgment, my penalty.  He got my just deserts.  He was lashed, humiliated and hung on a cross.  For me.  Jesus covered all our ugliness.  It's overwhelming.  Truly.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

All this fun for $34.99 from

The littlest one wanted a smoke machine.  I don't know where he got the idea or what he thought he was going to do with one. I don't know what I thought he was going to do with one, either.  So I figured, why not?
Well, this is why not:
The smoke machine was not that expensive so I didn't think it would work quite as well as it does.  This took all of 5 minutes. 
He'll be hosting all the neighborhood raves and war movie re-enactments in his room.  Till it breaks or something...

Monday, January 11, 2016

Merry Christmas-Happy New Year

For the last 3 years, we have been going to Red River, NM to ski the week before Christmas.  I don't like cold and am pretty clumsy so I figured I'd die by now, but so far so good.  Last year, the girl thought she'd try snowboarding.  That didn't go so well.  This year, we all got our ski legs pretty quickly and no one required medical attention.  All in all, it was a good trip.  It was nice to have my brother-in-law, who we never get to spend time with,  come along with us.  The boys discovered the joy in tree covered black runs, but I don't want to talk about that.  Too much anxiety for this non-adrenaline-junky mother. 
I didn't want to risk breaking my camera so I didn't get any pics from the slopes.  My phone had a big crack in the glass over the camera so that was worthless, too.  But, here is an amazing icicle that was hanging outside one of the bedroom windows.
 I walked down to the bottom of the face one day hoping to catch someone I knew, but they had moved on to bigger and steeper runs.  This one doesn't look too scary from the bottom, but I definitely did not ski that whole thing-just about the bottom 1/3. I fell every time.  It's embarrassing. 
 This sweet boy waited patiently for his brother and uncle so he could pound them with snowballs.

  This family is not a fan of selfie sticks, but they humored me just a little.  The cracked glass over my camera made everything fuzzy, but here we are.
And here we are again.

Fireworks on NYE often result in flaming grass or flaming people.  They think it's great fun to shoot roman candles, bottle rockets and fire crackers at each other.  Good times... 

Imagine a grown man standing a little way out in the road while kids shoot him with fireworks.  That's what's happening here.

Luckily, said grown man has ninja like reflexes and was unharmed.  Nothing in flames this NYE! I'm hoping that means 2016 will be calm and uneventful.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Moment of Silence for a Dearly Beloved

I quit smoking cigarettes about 2 years ago.  I thoroughly enjoyed smoking and quit only because my friends and family became so irritating about the habit that something had to give.  I briefly contemplated running away, but considering the condition of my lungs, I wouldn't have made it very far. 
A friend of mine had been fighting the same battle and was introduced to vapor pens by her son.  She hadn't had a cigarette for many months.  When she wouldn't ride with me in my car because of the cigarette stink, I figured it was time to try some vape.
My husband got a Z Max (I think that's what it was called) for my mom and me for Christmas.  After about 3 months of smoking and vaping, I was able to completely put those ol' stinky cancer sticks down!
The first vape pen crapped out about 6 months in.  I felt like I was always battling with it-filling it up, changing the atomizers, checking the battery, inadvertently pressing a button and changing some setting, etc.  When I went to get another one, I wanted something easy and small and girly.  I found  easy, but small and girly was impossible. 
The one that met my easy requirement was a Tesla something or other.   It was huge.  And silver. And non-girly.  It was in my price range so I brought it home.   
It worked perfectly and felt good to hold.  You know how it feels when you hold a mag light or a well balanced tool? That's how it was.  A well balanced tool. 
The family dubbed him Optimus Prime.  He was a good friend.  He was never demanding.  He never complained.  He never criticized or offered a contradictory opinion. He was reliable.  I took him everywhere with me-the movies, the beach, Great Britain, New Mexico, California.  He was well traveled.  He had been my constant companion for more than a year. 
Sadly, Optimus bit the dust yesterday.  I pressed his button and there was nothing but cold and silence.  I changed his battery and atomizer and added fresh e-juice, but nothing revived him.  It was a heart-stopping, panic ridden moment.  The sizzle was gone.  I regained control of myself and was able to find a cheap fill-in, but nothing can replace my precious, Optimus Prime.
Please join me in a moment of silence.

Rest in peace, dear friend.  You were loved. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Our Feral Tree

Years ago we visited an historic building in the area during Christmas.  It is a beautiful stone building (pretty much a ruin now) that German immigrants dug out of the earth to create a home.  In one of the rooms there was a shaggy cedar tree just sparkling with mercury glass ornaments.  I fell in love! I have wanted a cedar Christmas tree ever since.  Usually we go to a tree farm and walk aimlessly through the rows of neatly trimmed furs and pines.  I always ask if they have any cedars.  They usually look at me like I have a cat on my head and say no.  Apparently, there are not many people out there in love with shaggy cedar trees. 
Recently, my son was tasked with clearing a fence row.    Lo and behold, the fence row contained (among the jumping cactus) cedar trees!! 
Dare to dream people-dreams really do come true sometimes.
The boys were not thrilled about cutting this out of the fence-their cries of "Mom, it's been raining for a week, we don't want to lay in puddles" and "Mom, those jumping cactus needles hurt" and "Mom, I just saw a poisonous snake slither out of there", were answered with "Suck it up buttercup, I'm not raising ninnies".  We don't mollycoddle around here. 
First they did a little clearing with the machete.  Jumping cactus is no joke.

Then they discussed who should lay in the mud first.
 Finally, the little one gets to sawing.  I didn't get a pic of  #1 son pulling it out of the fence because, hey, he's the middle kid.  I forget to document his life sometimes....

 And here we are.  The majestic, crooked, shaggy wonder.  The most magnificent tree to ever grace our hall:

We all have our quirks.  So what it's crooked :)
It's straight enough from this angle.
 An actual antique ornament from my gramma's tree.
 This one isn't nearly as beautiful as the "inspiration" tree, but I'm happy with it.  Now that I know where to get a cedar, next year's will be even better.


In the middle of all your Christmas busyness and craziness, and in the wonder and awe and beauty of this season, don't forget: Jesus is the reason for all of this.  A merciful, wonderful, glorious God.  A God of love, hope, forgiveness and redemption.  We are all as imperfect as my feral tree, but we are loved nonetheless.  Thank you, Jesus.

Sunday, November 29, 2015


I hated London when we first got there.  It was hot and our hotel had no AC.  AC is not a big thing in the UK.  We just happened to be there in a record breaking heat wave.  I'm no stranger to a hellishly hot day, I mean, I do live in Texas, but we have AC. Being on buses and trains and subways and just being in the middle of a bunch of hot, stinky people was not a good time.  I was just over it.  However, when you meet a friendly policeman, who proudly shows you his gun, grins brightly and says it's only for "public assurance", your day gets better-even though you're hot and tired.  I didn't even think British cops were allowed guns. 

And I couldn't resist-"Look kids, Big Ben!" Every single time we saw it :)

 Pano from the London Eye
 It wasn't falling down.
 There's no AC in here...
 Pano Picadilly
 Their seats at a street performance.  We kept looking for Ed Sheeran, but no luck.

 The beginning of the changing of the guards.  It's about 90 degrees.  I can't believe one of them did not fall out...
We were expecting to hear some grand marching song from the band, but we were treated to Michael Jackson's Thriller. Totally unexpected.  I think the Brits have a pretty good sense of humor.

 Thames pano
 Give way...
 Windsor Castle was beautiful, but you aren't allowed to take pics of the cool stuff inside.
 The last night, 3 girls and I braved the tube and London city streets alone to see this play. 
So long London! I hope I get to come back someday!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Smoking kills in Scotland, too.  This was spotted in the graveyard we stood in to get a look at the Queen's Edinburgh (pronounced Ed-in-burra) house.  She was coming the day after we left. 

Just chillin', playin' some bagpipes.

View from Edinburra Castle
 This was a pet cemetery in the castle.

Quirky mailbox

Learning to look the opposite direction for oncoming traffic was difficult, but Edinburra does what it can to help us Americans out :)

This is a tiny area between the traffic lanes.  I think they reached maximum occupancy.
Traffic is WHIZZING by...
 One of the things I was most excited about was getting to ride a night train from Edinburgh to London.  Here it is. 

Waiting to find their cubicles.

These were some tiny spaces.
You kinda have to walk a little sideways to get down the hallway.

 It was a long ride, I was tired and didn't get to see any of the countryside I was so looking forward to seeing, was the night was night...
But once we arrived in London (at a ridiculous 6 a.m.), we were greeted with this sign-
get it?
Guess we weren't as far from home as we thought.

Edinburgh is a beautiful city.  Sometimes I can hardly believe I got to go there...