Flexible Friday #16:
Participation Required Please

I’m planning a few changes and tweaks with my site in the near future.

I’d love to hear from each and every one of you about…

  • What you like.
  • What you don’t like.
  • What you’d like to see more of.
  • What you’d like to see less of.

Like maybe me not ending sentences with a preposition.*

Or like me not starting sentences with the word “like.”

Or like not even using the word “like.”

Bring it on. Leave a comment below.

Remember if you are reading this through email subscription or an RSS reader you have to click through to the website.

In the two most used words of my mom, my Aunt Jane, my cousin Sally and me, please try to…

BE NICE.

Think of me fondly as I go to another cross country race on Saturday without a chair and not running into the woods after my daughters.

Have a great weekend!

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*Like I totally feel a lot better about the preposition issue since I just learned this thanks to dictionary.com

Could someone please verify this and then notify my high school English teachers?

—Usage note The often heard but misleading “rule” that a sentence should not end with a preposition is transferred from Latin, where it is an accurate description of practice. But English grammar is different from Latin grammar, and the rule does not fit English. In speech, the final preposition is normal and idiomatic, especially in questions: What are we waiting for? Where did he come from? You didn’t tell me which floor you worked on.

It’s not even October yet…

Only a few days left of my favorite month of the year – and not just because it is the month of my birthday.

I love September because the kids go back to school.

I love September because it brings the hint of Fall.

Fall is my favorite season.

There is so much to love about Fall especially if you live where the leaves turn colors…

and you love …

pumpkins and gourds…
apple cider and pumpkin pie…
the smell of cinnamon and the chill of the night air.

Ahhh, I really do love Fall.

In the coming weeks, I’ll definitely share some of our award-winning Halloween costumes from past years.

We’ve always celebrated Halloween as a fun day to dress up and celebrate Fall.

We’ve never celebrated Halloween as a demon and devil holiday with ghouls and goblins and scary things.

This weekend, Scary Baby got busy living up to her “code name.”

She had a friend over to spend the night on Saturday and she apparently wanted to get a head start on Halloween festivities.

PhilBillPaul got wind of the fact that they had been busy putting flyers on neighbors’ mailboxes and they were preparing to host an event at our house:

ScaryStoryNite

PhilBillPaul especially enjoyed the part where she stressed “No food provided” since she knows she gets in big trouble when she starts providing snacks and drinks for any kid who walks by our house.

This is not the first time our creative, lovely, last child has made a flyer and distributed them through the neighborhood.

Nice Dad actually took control of the situation and made her go through the neighborhood and remove the flyers. She insists they only put them at houses with small children.

Small children who would like participate in Scary Story Night with
Scary Baby?

I’m sure that we have neighbors who wonder why her parents don’t supervise her and channel her creativity in different ways.

Sorry neighbors…

I wish I had a good answer other than we are old and tired.

But that’s all I’ve got.

We are old and tired.

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Pork-n-Beans Cake

In honor of my birthday this week, it seemed a perfect time to make this very public announcement in case you ever want to bake me a cake.

I shall never, ever want a Pork-n-Beans Cake.

Seriously. I thought it was a joke.

I felt sick when I saw the title too.

On my Yahoo home page I have one of my favorite recipe sites provide me with daily recipes in three categories.

I do have a dessert category.

I do not have a bean category.

You know I had to click on the recipe when it came up a few weeks ago because I did think it was a joke.

But it’s not. People have actually made it, eaten it and liked it!

I had to dig deeper because that’s just how I am.

I like to read the reviews because there are always good tips from other cooks. Since this cake got 4.5 stars out of 5 from 16 reviewers I had to read the comments and reviews.

My favorite tip of all was from reviewer MJ who gave it 5 stars…

“This cake is moist and tastes great! I do suggest mashing the beans, otherwise you end up seeing whole beans in the cake.

Um, yeah, mash up those beans so you don’t SEE beans in your CAKE.

Reviewer kristina gave it 4 stars and shared these helpful tips…

“I was skeptical about this recipe, but it was a HIT at the office. I made it again, substituting the raisins for bacon bits and peanuts and I cut the sugar in half – amazing. I also used applesauce instead of oil to make it healthier.”

Oh yeah, ADD bacon bits and PEANUTS to your BEAN cake.

You can find the recipe at allrecipes.com.

Has anyone here ever made a bean cake? Go ahead, admit it here and I promise I will still like you but I’ll know to pass on dessert if I come to your house.

I dare you to make it. But please, no sharing.

Surprise me with cake any time but please don’t ever bring a cake with beans, smashed or otherwise.

Excuse me, I have to go now…I’m feeling really queasy.

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P.S. This might actually be a funny cake to bring to a Halloween party. Just a last random thought. 😉

Coma Questions

Back in May, I offered to answer any coma questions.

Because I know if I knew someone who had been in a coma and I had never been in a coma myself, I would be very nosey interested and ask lots of questions.

For your reading pleasure, here are some coma questions I’ve been asked. I remember very little so most of my answers are what PhilBillPaul or my mom has told me…

Could you see, or are your eyes even open, but were not able to respond?

My eyes were closed. PhilBillPaul was very concerned that they had restraints on me to keep me still. He knew that I am claustrophobic and hate to be pinned down.

I might be known to freak out if I get tangled in the sheets at night.

Did you experience pain, or did your body go into shock and make you numb?

At the scene of the accident I had a grand mal seizure and I stopped breathing on the helicopter en route to the hospital. PhilBillPaul says I never appeared to be in pain.

I thought maybe they would have been poking the soles of my feet or my limbs but PhilBillPaul says they didn’t (or he wasn’t paying attention which is more likely).

Or I watch too much TV.

Could you hear people talking to each other and to you?

I do not remember hearing anyone even though someone was always with me, talking to me and/or playing music.

I do know that they made a tape of my friend talking to me and played it in my room. She was the other passenger and she was taken by ambulance to the another hospital. My mom was worried that I might think she died since she wasn’t able to come to the hospital and talk to me because she was being treated for her own injuries.

I still have that tape locked away in a trunk.

Could you smell certain foods, etc.?

I have a nose like a bloodhound and maybe the coma heightened my sense of smell? Oh wait, I’m suppose to be answering questions, not asking them.

I can literally tell you where and what PhilBillPaul had for lunch by the smell of his clothes and skin. Most perfume and floral or musk scents are migraine triggers.

But I don’t remember smelling anything in particular at the hospital.

Were you told to squeeze someone’s hand, and were you able to do it, or did you want to and couldn’t?

I did not respond to anything or anyone while in the coma. I woke up in the night or very early morning and the hospital called PhilBillPaul and told him I was awake and trying to talk.

His biggest fear was that I would not remember him or that we were married because we had only been married for seven months.

Lucky him, I remembered.

Did you have a “near-death experience”?
Did you see anything like what is referred to as an afterlife?
Did you see Christ/God?

All variations of above question are what I refer to as “the white light” question. Again, probably too much TV on my part.

I didn’t see or hear anything. I don’t remember feeling like I was going to die. Nor do I remember fighting to stay alive.

There is just a big blank space in my life in that entire month of June. And a lot of memory loss both before and after the accident that friends and family tirelessly help me remember when I ask a million questions.

Did you feel emotions?

Only after I woke up.

I still remember the utter frustration of not being able to say the word my brain was thinking. Several months of speech therapy helped with this.

I have a notebook I wrote in for months after the crash that is still hard to believe is my handwriting. My mom saved an envelope I insisting on addressing to my dad for Father’s Day.

Those things are also locked away the trunk.

Do you remember the accident crash?

I’ve always made a conscious effort to call it “the crash” instead of accident. Because accident infers that it was unintentional or caused by chance or luck. The slogan M.A.D.D. used shortly after our crash, “Don’t Call Me Lucky” really stuck with me. It’s not that I’m not thankful that I survived. I am. I promise. I am grateful beyond words. But drinking and driving is intentional and hurts innocent people every single day. Okay, off my soapbox and back to the question.

I barely even remember going to the movie with PhilBillPaul that night. I have very foggy memories of being at a house and playing a computer game at the house we had driven to let two dogs out.

Do you have flashbacks?

When I am on a two-lane road at night, I sometimes have serious anxiety when an oncoming car approaches. I believe this is some sort of residual memory from that moment when those blinding headlights came out of nowhere and I threw my hands up and let out a blood-curdling scream. That is the memory that has been described to me by my friend and PhilBillPaul in the split second before the drunk driver hit us.

I have learned to breathe and focus on the car I’m driving and not fix my eyes on the oncoming headlights.

Alrighty then, how’s that for some fascinating Q & A? If you’ve felt shy up until now and wanted to ask something that I didn’t answer, jump right in and ask. Just use the comment box to leave a question or contact me via email!

Or if you’ve been in a coma and want to share your experience, please do. I’d love to hear because I really am nosey interested!

On Wednesday I will share something really, really good that came from the crash and the coma…

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Flexible Friday #10 Random Thoughts

I’m very random and today is no exception. I have many things I could tell you but for now I just need to share that I usually write my Friday post on Thursday night.

Side note: A little dream I have is to get posts ready a month in advance but reality usually trumps my little dreams.

Tonight my reality forced encouraged me to take medication. It’s a Xanax night because the Valium just wasn’t working.

Next week I’ll tell you why I took the Xanax. It’s a doozey but worth saving for when I can type complete sentences without being in a medicated haze.

Instead, I thought I’d just share these random thoughts…

Is there really only ONE person reading my blog who felt compelled to give a shout out to a girlfriend who makes their world a better place? I thought that was sad. Sad for the girlfriends who would appreciate a public shout out.

And really sad for the state of my blog readership. Should I stop blogging or is that just the Xanax? Does Xanax make you sad? Or paranoid? Or both? Could someone get back to me on that? Or I guess I should ask my doctor.

But a big thank you to Joanne who left a very nice comment to send thanks out to her friend Chayna.

For those of you who have a good memory, Joanne also won
Wife of the Year.
Now I think she’s in the running for Friend of the Year.

Okay, maybe you all sent your girlfriends personal, handwritten notes?

This Xanax seems to make me ask a lot of questions.

I sign off now but had to leave you with this cartoon that I saw tonight that made me giggle.

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Close To Home© John McPherson

Come on, tell me who hasn’t gone into a fast food restaurant while on a road trip and used their bathroom and then felt guilty about it?

True confessions time. Last question I swear.

Did you buy something out of guilt before you left?

I’ll go first.

Yes, I have. More than once.

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Hip and Cool Cousins

You may or may not remember that my sister and I are both dysfunctional and hip and cool.

What I haven’t revealed until now is this…

My cousin Sally and her family were very hip and cool too.

SallyFamilyPortrait

Olan Mills and plaid – it’s a winning combination.

Side note: Relax Sally, as you continue to read on, there are no current pictures in this post. The old ones provided plenty of material.

It is nice to have good role models so your family can be hip and cool as well.

mewithsiblings

Oh look, Olan Mills and plaid again but we were even more hip and cool as we enjoyed the beautiful fall trees.

After my family moved from Indiana when I was in the 3rd grade, Sally and I have never lived close to each other. Usually many states separate us.

She’s found her way back to Indiana with her family just miles from
our Grandad’s farm.

Whether it’s been months or a year, we always just pick up where we left off. Time and distance doesn’t get in the way of our friendship.

I don’t think there has ever been a time we’ve been together that we haven’t laughed until we cried. Even at Grandad’s funeral. Which he would have appreciated so please don’t think we were being disrespectful…

Our moms are sisters.

We were in each other’s weddings.

SallyWedding

Oh yeah, I wore that dress a lot after the wedding. And wore my hair that way all through high school. Thank you Farrah.

Mywedding1987

Her husband Pat was Phil’s best man and I let her pick out her own dress for my “big wedding in the living room.”

Please excuse that inside family joke that sister Julie Julia should get.

We are both married to saints whose first names start with “P”

The saint part is what our families think. Whatever. We don’t necessarily agree.

Side note: I seriously just realized we are both S & P couples. I’m sure it means nothing but I was amused as I typed.

We both have four children.

Our husbands are best friends. (a post for another day)

PAHandPat1993

It’s scary how close they are – PhilBillPaul and Pat have sooooo much in common.

Mostly me and Sally.

We both have lots and lots of issues.

Look how hip and cool Sally and I were the summer after the car crash.

meandSal1987

It was 1988 and I think I weighed about 88 pounds and Sally must have been creeping up to triple digits.

Nice suspenders, Sal. I think it was the only time I ever wore horizontal stripes and hoped they made me look bigger.

This month Sally celebrates 30 years of marriage which is a milestone in my book!

But it really makes me feel old.

Then I remember this and remember I will always be younger than both of them.

It’s nice when you have a cousin that gets you.

She’s the cousin I can and have called in the middle of the night.

She’s the cousin who understands all my issues.

She’s the cousin who has a son serving in Iraq and her parents living in an apartment above her garage.

She’s the cousin who is always in my prayers.

Having a blog has its advantages. Isn’t this better than a boring (and late) anniversary card?

Happy Anniversary Sally. (and Pat.)

And thanks for being such a great cousin and more importantly, a great friend.

Much love,

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Positive or Negative?

When you find this book in the back seat of your car that your lovely
17 year-old daughters have been driving around in all summer…

AptGuide

Is it a positive or a negative?

Counting on all of you to tell me…

Should I be worried?

Or should I be rejoicing?

I’ll be waiting here patiently for your answers – just type them in the comment section below.

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P.S. Remember if you are reading this through an email subscription or an RSS reader, you need to click over to the website to leave a comment.

Flexible Friday #4
Fashion, Food & a little Funny

Thought Flexible Friday was a good day to share a few of my favorite sites that I check out and catch up on at least once a week. I did that yesterday which got me thinking you might enjoy them too.

First, here’s a great fashion site that always has great photos of outfits and ideas for all ages, sizes and shapes.

Great ideas which are not necessarily in my clothing budget (but I’m sure I could put a similar ensemble together from Target.) It’s also a great checkpoint for me to see just how out of style I really am each season. 😉

Second, you already know I love Pioneer Woman and she recently re-vamped her site and proudly shows off her cooking skill and gorgeous photography showing step-by-step recipe instructions.

I’m not saying I make anything with green vegetables and she does have a lot of recipes with vegetables. Fortunately for us she hasn’t tried to sneak any vegetables in her dessert recipes (which I think is wrong on so many levels)!

I’m starting you with this breakfast item that I must try. Okay, I must have PhilBillPaul make it and I’ll try it–perhaps in bed on my breakfast tray that he will bring to me.

Don’t worry, he wouldn’t dare include the green chives!

Finally, this is subjective humor and some of you won’t like it and that’s okay. Much like TV and radio, you can just change the channel or not even click the link.

You’ll probably know from the name of the blog whether you’ll like it or not…it really shouldn’t be any surprise that I catch myself laughing out loud at some of her rants.

Visit White Trash Mom if you even cracked a tiny smile at that name.

Leave a comment and share your favorite blog or websites. Remember if you are reading this through an email subscription or an RSS reader you will have to click through to the actual blog to leave your comment.

Have a great weekend!

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Photography Tip for a Trip to the Zoo

I’m one of those annoying people who has always kept her photos organized and in photo albums.

I’ve spent years making photo albums for my kids. I’ve made many albums for friends and family and given them as gifts.

I don’t like to share the number of albums I’ve made because some people seem to get cranky about it.

I’m not bragging – I just love photos and I love to be organized. I also really understand the value of making sure the important people in my life know how much I love them and have some tangible evidence of my love through photos and my words.

Yes, I’m sentimental like that. I’d blame it on the coma but I actually made photo albums long before the coma.

15 years ago, my mother kindly sent me all the loose photographs from her house. Our family photos were stored in shoeboxes in a closet for as long as I could remember.

She suggested that I could make albums for everyone.

15 years ago I had three toddlers under the age of three.

Sure, I had loads of free time.

But being the keeper of the family photos has some great advantages. I have made some pretty special family albums and given some great gifts.

I made albums for my three siblings, my parents and my family.

But I have one small box of photos left that haven’t been put in an album. They are pictures of my growing up years.

I was recently sorting through that last box. I was thinking I might just make the time this summer to make an album for ME.

As I sifted through the photos, I came across these two from a trip to the Cincinnati zoo.

Though my sister Julie and I freely admit we have always been a little dysfunctional, our mom made sure we always looked our very best
as you can see from this photo!

meandJuliezoo

Darn cute, weren’t we?

The second photo is where we are looking at the fascinating exhibit of prairie dogs. Here’s where my photo tip comes in…

meAtZoo

Photo Tip

You should either discreetly ask your daughter to close her legs before you snap a picture or dress her in shorts instead of a sun dress for your trip to the zoo.

I’m just here to help.

Even at the expense of my own personal pride and white cotton panties.

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Flexible Friday #3 – Being Nine

It’s hard to be nine.

It’s especially hard to be nine when you have three teenage siblings.

And it’s a hot summer day.

Which always makes me think of staying inside and reading a good book.

So I went to a special cabinet in my room to get one of those classic books out for Scary Baby yesterday.

It made me remember being nine and being able to walk to the air-conditioned library in the small town where we lived.

It made me think of some of my favorite books and authors that transported me to another place and made me love reading…as in it is one my most favorite things to do!

We have three out of four kids that devour books like PhilBillPaul and I do. One unnamed teen much prefers TV to a good book.

Nature vs. nurture is alive and well at our house.

Here are some of my all-time favorites that all my kids have read and still love (even the non-reader):

Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary
(I love the whole series!)

Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald Sobol
(You don’t have to be a boy to love this series!)

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
(might just be my all-time favorite series!)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
(fun to read and then watch the *original* movie with Gene Wilder!)

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
(love, love, love all her books!)

The library is a fabulous place to spend some of your hot summer days. Most libraries have great summer reading programs and activities. Books make great gifts at any age.

Have you passed on your love of reading on to your kids?

Share the titles or authors of your favorite childhood books…it’s always fun to get book recommendations!

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