February + Giveaway = Love

This is a special day. A special, special day.

For one thing, it is no longer January.

For another thing, it’s February. Which, in a wacky twist of fate, comes after January.

It is the first day of Black History month.

It is the day that Mary Shelley died.

It is the day that MY DAD was born! And Clark Gable. My Dad grew a moustache once and I thought he looked like Clark Gable. I have no pictures for evidence at the moment, but I’ll get right on it.

On this day in 1861, Texas seceded from the United States. Abraham Lincoln said “over my dead body!” or something like that.

On this day in 2004, Janet Jackson bared her breast during the Super Bowl halftime show. Abraham Lincoln could not be reached for comment.

February is a short month. The shortest month of the year. Did you know that the ancient Romans gave us our calendar? And that, at first, it only had ten months? And that the last month was December, and it lasted for all of Winter? Because the Romans considered Winter to be a “monthless” season?

I would also add that it is a cheerless, bitter season of creeping, quiet desperation, but I can’t verify if the Romans would have gone that far. Probably not, considering that they had the Mediterranean.

This is also my 535th post. Five Hundred and Thirty-Five. Heavens to murgatroid. That’s a lot of drivel.

I wasn’t paying ANY attention when my 500th post went by. I’m not sure which one it was. I could count backwards, but that would require, well, counting backwards, so let’s just pretend that 535 is the REAL number to get jazzed about, mkay?

Not that, so far, I have said ANYTHING that would cause you to get jazzed IN THE SLIGHTEST MODICUM. But let me change all of that right now.

Because right now, without further ado, I give you this:

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Are you not tantalized? Hypnotized? Mesmerized by the beautiful brown shades and the silky ribbon? I know I was. My heart went pitty-pat when it came in the mail from My Beloved. Then I started to open it.

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Oh my.

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Oh my stars.

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Oh my stars and garters.

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Oh my stars and garters and lacy unmentionables.

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And then I ate one. And it was like death, but in a good way! (name that movie, just for fun?)

SALTED CARAMELS, my friends. Almost paradise. We’re knockin’ on Heaven’s door. Almost paradise. How could we ask for more?

Name that movie, too. Just for fun.

As beautiful as these beautiful beauties are, I have to confess: they tasted even better. If your most decadent experience with caramel has been a casual Twix bar here and there, let me assure you that YOU HAVE NO IDEA of what caramel was meant to be. These will ruin you for anything else. RUIN YOU.

Now, I am prepared to give away a box of these precious lovelies to one of you. AND, just because I know not everyone’s taste buds run as adventurous as some, I will let you choose whether you want salted or unsalted, milk or dark chocolate.

Or if you’ve never tasted the wonder that is a salted caramel and you think you might be ready to adjust your worldview a hair, you can get a mixture! Just calm down, put your head between your legs, breathe into a paper bag, and let me know in the comments.

That’s it! Just leave me a comment and you’ll go into the hat. Rather, your name will go into the hat.

Fran’s Chocolates, you don’t know me from a hole in your head, but I must tell you, you changed my life. Or at least my salivary glands. Thank you.

(giveaway will end on February 7th at the stroke of midnight…chocolates should arrive by Valentine’s Day, barring acts of God)

Kitchen Sink Saturday

 ROMEO TAKE ME! SOMEWHERE WE CAN BE ALONE! I’VE BEEN WAITING! ALL THAT’S LEFT TO DO IS RUN! YOU BE THE PRINCE AND I’LL BE THE PRINCESS…

What? Oh. Sorry. Heh heh. Just singing along to the music here…

I’m just going a little stir-crazy, that’s all. My ipod understands, don’t you, Poddy? Whoozagoodipod, huh? WHOOZAGOODPODDY? YOU ARE! YOU ARE!!

Ahem.

I may need some prayers to get through this winter. Or an intervention of some sort.

As you may have noticed, there have been a few more tweaks and twirks to ye olde blogge around these parts, and if you will please notice (please? please notice?), I now have TWO NEW ITEMS in my sidebar!

TWO! NEW! ITEMS! ALL NEW! ALL NEW TODAY! MADE BY YOURS TRULY! WITH MY OWNTY-OWN HANDS!

One of them is a link to my Etsy shop. My own etsy shop! Yippee hooray! And it actually has actually real, actual items in it!

And I kid you not, I posted a few things just this morning and within ONE HOUR, I had sold something. I am not even kidding. Kidding you, not. KIDDING.  When the email popped up in my inbox, there may have been some shrieking, and some high-fiving, and some disproportionate excitement.

You must remember how exciting my life has been lately, though, to truly understand.

The other button is my new blog button. Not that I had an old blog button. I’ve never had a blog button at all before, so I thought to myself “hey, why not make a blog button?” and I said “I don’t know, why not?” and then I said “It’s a great idea!” and then I had a long conversation with my ipod.

And then I made a button.

Feel free to take the code and slap it up on your site, if you do such things. Or just admire its cuteness.

Did you know that Monday is the first day of February? It is, I promise. Why are you glancing at your calendar? Don’t you trust me? Anyway, you know what February means, right? It means I survived January! And surviving January is always something of a celebration ’round these parts. Which is good news for you. So be sure to come visit on Monday.

Lastly, before I sign off and go spend an hour or twenty weeping over photographs from past beach vacations, may I just thank you from the depths of my bosom for clicking over to Kate’s adoption site and putting a penny or two in the coffers? Because you guys are just THE BEST, and don’t ever let anyone tell you differently.

In closing,

SHE WEARS HIGH HEELS, I WEAR SNEAKERS, SHE’S CHEER CAPTAIN AND I’M ON THE BLEACHERS! DREAMIN BOUT THE DAY WHEN YOU WAKE UP AND FIND THAT WHAT YOU’RE LOOKIN FOR HAS BEEN HERE THE WHOLE TIME…

Sincerely,

Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate

Special Needs

One of my dearest online friends has what I consider to be some of the most exciting news EVER. She and her husband are planning to expand their fabulous family of seven beautiful children to include two precious girls from the Ukraine. 

The obstacles one faces when adopting are daunting, but to say that Kate and her husband Charley are no strangers to daunting situations would be putting it mildly. In their parenting journey they have faced obstacles that would have had most average mortals wailing in self-pity and crippled by fear.

To state that Kate and Charley are not average mortals would also be putting it mildly. They meet challenges head-on and with a tenacity and faith that I have honestly never seen before in anyone I have ever known.

The girls they are adopting have special needs of their own, and I know that there could not be a better family for them to grow up in. Kate, Charley, and the kids have fallen completely in love with them. You can read all about their journey to adopt at their adoption blog.

Would you like to help bring these precious girls home? Obviously everyone knows that adoption is costly, and there is no denying that this is a plea for funding. But even if you cannot give a dime, would you consider putting up Kate’s blog button on your own site so that others may become aware of the opportunity?

<a href="http://snadoption.blogspot.com"><img src="http://i47.tinypic.com/70vq11.jpg" alt="" /></a>

Most importantly, would you pray? Pray for direction, wisdom, and for patience. Pray for red tape to be swiftly navigated and for efficiency in the most unlikely of places: national governments.

Thank you!

My Mother Always Said…

“Only boring people get bored.”

That’s what she used to tell me. Whining to her in the middle of summer or during school breaks for the holidays like the spoiled rotten brat that I was, I would slink off to my room after she said it, pouting that my own mother called me boring. Assembling my ten million stuffed animals, I would call the meeting to order and inquire as to what grand adventure we should have together.

They would stare at me, glassy-eyed, silent…unhelpful. I knew they participated in all sorts of hair-raising schemes behind my back, but were they going to confess to their devoted, doting person? Not a chance. Screw them. I retreated to my closet to check if it had transformed into a portal to Narnia instead. Nope. Still just a wall of sheetrock.

My mother would also offer to let me fold laundry, or dust, or put away dishes, if I complained too frequently, or too long. What I really wanted was a flying unicorn. Or a rainbow I could climb to visit the cloud men of Roald Dahl’s imagination. I WANTED AN ADVENTURE, BY GOLLY.

When my own children get bored, I say “Revel in it! Enjoy it! Do you know how many people in the world would LOVE to know how it feels to be bored? It’s a luxury!! You could be working in a sweatshop or a coal mine! You could be digging potatoes until your fingernails fall off, you could be…(etc)”

I’m much more long-winded than my mother.

I am also the world’s biggest hypocrite. Because,

Right now? 

I’M SO BORED.

SO. BORED.

SOOOOOOOO BOOOOOOOOORRRRRREEEEEDDDDDDDDDDDD!!

The most exciting thing that happened to me today was that my baby boy pooped Stonehenge. It is, at this moment, sitting in the bottom of the toilet bowl, slowly eroding since it refuses to flush. I should start a betting pool amongst my children to see who estimates its time-to-flushability to the closest minute. 

The sameness of my days is killing me. Am I alone? Or am I just the only one brave enough to say it? I mean, come on, it’s an unwritten rule that Christians (especially) are not supposed to complain of boredom. We are supposed to savor every moment in an attitude of thankfulness for our every breath. I know this. I’m not stupid. It’s pretty much sinful to pout over the lack of portals to other dimensions where every episode moment is a new thrill.

And so I’ll make my own excitement. I will rise above the boredom that is trying to claim me. I AM NOT A BORING PERSON, BY JINGO! I AM A CLEVER AND CREATIVE SOUL!

I will go and see if I can flush the toilet yet.

And maybe burn something down.

Top Ten Tuesday

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Top Ten Things I Would Like To Be If I Could Not Be A Homosapien

 

10. Bunny Rabbit.

Pros: So adorable it makes me giddy.
Cons: Considered tasty by many. Only defense is running, which by necessity involves a lot of rapid motion.

9. Eagle.

Pros: Duh, they can fly. Also, they’re protected, and badass.
Cons: They look arrogant, and I imagine they are lonely on account of the badassishness. Also, I’m afraid of heights.

8. Arabian Horse.

Pros: I already have the crazy long neck. They’re worth, like, zillions of dollars, and get to wear pretty jewelry.
Cons: I don’t especially like jewelry. Or sheiks.

7. Octopus.

Pros: Lives in the ocean. Eight arms for multitasking.
Cons: Hunted, eaten. Considered “icky” by many.

6: Coral.

Pros: Again, the ocean thing. Also beautiful. Valued. Protected.
Cons: One kick from a panicky, albeit admiring, snorkeller and you’re toast.

5. Grizzly Bear.

Pros: Sleeps all winter. Gives birth and never even wakes up. Feared and respected on account of being able to tear someone’s head off with one flick of the wrist.
Cons: Fleas. Ticks. Chiggars.

4. Panda Bear.

Pros: Protected and revered. Also blowing the lid off the cute-o-meter.
Cons: Endangered. Dwindling habitat. Sexual habits scrutinized by world.

3. Giant Redwood.

Pros: Admired by many. Really tall. Live for thousands of years.
Cons: Carpenter ants. Ew. Also, they live for thousands of years.

2. Dust Mite.

Pros: People don’t even know when you’re there. Pretty much indestructable.
Cons: Eat flakes of skin. Nightmarishly hideous.

1. Driftwood.

Pros: Free ocean cruises. Valued by artists, and birds needing a place to rest their feet. Non-sentient. Never consumed with worry about things they can’t change. 
Cons: none.

Perfect.

A Nip Here, A Tuck There…

My blog has a brand new face! Whaddaya think? I’m nearabouts in love with it, so don’t go saying anything nasty. If you find any broken links or whatnot, rest assured they will be remedied as soon as My Beloved can get to them; unfortunately he has a “job” that he “has” to “go” to “all week long”, so things like bloggy facelifts take a back seat sometimes.

There are three brand-spankin’ new, rotating header pictures that I think are just spiffy (refresh approximately 406 times to see all three). I took one of them, can you guess which one? Seeing as how I’m IN one of them, you have a 50/50 chance of guessing correctly.

I also have a new tagline. The old “trying to find the mary buried in the martha” just didn’t ring true to me anymore. I want to cut Martha a break. All people seem to remember about her was her harried complaining in one passage. But the truth is that she loved the Lord and understood who He was a far sight before most of His best friends did.

Instead, I’m taking inspiration from The Velveteen Rabbit. I’m trusting that one day I’ll just lose myself in the becoming real and stop being afraid of the pain that sometimes accompanies the transformation. If you’ve never read the book, why are you hanging out here? For heaven’s sake, run straight out and get a copy!

For those of you who are still here, go out and have a spectacular Monday, why don’t you? Give him what-for! Show that sucker who’s boss! Tell him I sent ya!

A Poem, a Winner, and a Thank You

Submitted for your amusement…a poem by my eldest, whose baby is non-stop movement and exploration:

 

adventures in babydom

Mommy peacefully sitting, knitting. Blissfully unaware. 

Baby playing quietly, happily. Without a care. 

Mommy looks down

At Baby’s concentrated frown

Smiles tenderly. 

Hears a small *crunch*

Baby thinks “lunch!”

Until Mommy shrieks impressively.

A scuffle ensues

Mommy won’t lose

As Baby tries to hide his prize.

But junebug legs

And junebug head

Cannot escape her horrified eyes.

 

Now Baby cries.

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The winner of the “Be Mine” letters is Kris, comment number 11! Congratulations, Kris. Also, a huge thank you to all who entered and said such encouraging things…may you all have a blessed Sunday!

Happy To Me

celebrity-pictures-matthew-fox-promised-cake

 

So today marks the anniversary of the very first post I published here at El Bloggo, and although I can’t actually offer you any CAKE (sorry, Jack), I can at least offer up a token of my gratitude to all you fine folks out in the internet ether who continue to put up with my shenanigans.

 

Don’t you just love the word “shenanigans“? Did you know it is a uniquely American word? Dictionary.com says that the earliest useage was in 1855, of uncertain origin. Earliest records of it are in San Francisco and Sacramento, Calif. Suggestions include Sp. chanada, a shortened form of charranada “trick, deceit,” or, less likely, Ger. Schenigelei, peddler’s argot for “work, craft,” or the related Ger. slang verb schinäglen. Another guess centers on Ir. sionnach “fox.”

 

Say what you will about America, we will always have shenanigans to define us.

 

Words and I, we go way back. And if they are covered in decoupage, so much the better. So in celebration of this, my 3-yr blogiversary, I give you a Valentine’s Day treat, made with my ownty-own hands:

 

bemine

 

Four wooden letters proclaiming “MINE” with a teensy weensy “be” on the M to make it “Be mine”. They have hanging holes in the back, or you can just prop them up somewhere and admire their cuteness.

 

M

 

I

 

N

 

E

 

(Click on the pictures to see them in their full glittery goodness)

 

If you’d like a chance to win them, all you have to do is leave a comment! Be sure I have some way to get ahold of you, of course. And if you’d like to tell me how long you’ve been stopping by and how you got here, I’d love to know!

 

(giveaway will end Saturday at midnight, Oklahoma time, whatever that is)

First Hand

Just wanted to share a VERY enlightening blog post from Apparent Project Mission worker Corrigan Clay, who is in the midst of the Haitian Earthquake relief efforts… he has some good advice for people wanting to help!

 

You can scroll down to the bottom of his eyewitness post to find out the best ways to help RIGHT NOW, but in case you haven’t time to do that, the summary is: They are desperate for food, water, and medical supplies. If you want to give money, the BEST places to do it are with the smaller charities (like the Apparent Project) that are already established in the country.

 

(and might I insert here that Compassion International, while not a “smaller charity”, is in an excellent position to help, being not only established in the country already, but plugged in to local churches and communities!)

 

The sad truth seems to be that aid that is simply flown into the airport and passed out to the first hands to grab it is often going to a black market situation that only serves to capitalize on the great suffering and need. Those who are already set-up in Haiti are the best organizations to know how to get the aid to the right places. Larger organizations such as Red Cross will be most helpful in a month or two, but right now they are still getting their act together and trying to establish the who/what/when/wheres of distribution.

 

Mostly, please keep praying. Consider fasting. Haiti was so needy before the earthquake. The world moves on, but the crisis remains.

Mr. Sandman, bring me…some sandpaper…?

I’m not a napper. I never have been a napper, except occasionally on days of heavy pregnancy or narcotic influences. Unlike My Beloved, who can drop off anywhere and anytime, it’s simply not in my nature. There’s a little voice in my head that chants “things to do, things to do, things to doooooo…” which naturally is a wee bit of a distraction when one is trying to court the Sandman. 

 

Today, however, right after reading Science and History to my middles, I was sitting on the couch, minding my own business, when The Sandman sneaked up behind me and went all Chuck Norris on my noggin. One minute I was about to get up and do math with Emma, the next minute I was slumped on the cushions, drooling.

 

To add insult to injury, he made certain that my face was resting peacefully upon a pleated pillow. For two hours.

 

When I finally awoke and staggered to my feet, the day was waning fast. The voice in my head was shrieking things to do things to do thingstodo THINGSTODOOOO!!!! I dashed into the bathroom to smooth my hair and prepare for my far-too-frequent foray to the evil, alien-run megagroceryopolis, when I saw my right cheek.

 

I was imprinted.

 

Severely.

 

I rubbed. I lotioned. I did facial stretching exercises. And I waited. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. Twenty. Rubrubrubrub…repeat…

 

Still there. Undiminished in their spectacular depth and symmetry, they covered my right cheek like some sort of Star-Trek, The Next Generation alien makeup. I was a refugee aboard the Enterprise, rescued from a doomed planet and destined for relocation. Only without Captain Picard there to soothe my ragged nerves with dulcet assurances.

 

yowza

oh jean-luc! where were you in my hour of need?

 

Nothing screams OLD! OLD! YOU’RE GETTING OLD!!!!!!!!!!!! like pillow-face that will not fade. In my twenties those lines would have smoothed out with one smile. In this case the only one smiling was The Sandman. In fact, I was fairly certain I heard him having an all-out fit of hysteria somewhere in the clouds above.

 

I went to Wal Mart anyway. I once saw a guy there wearing a hat on his head fashioned from a sweatpant leg. And considering this website, I guess a woman with a topographical map for a face is pretty small potatoes, after all.