Secret Santa Sign-Ups (say that 7 times fast)

Monday, November 23, 2009

OK - it's time for details about the Secret Santa.
If you're interested, this is how it's going down...

Answer the questions below and then e-mail me. We are going to draw names and you'll be assigned a person to be a Secret Santa to. This is different from a swap that way. No partners and you won't know who sent your gift.
The gifts don't have to be extravagant and don't stress about what to get. We're keeping the spending limit to $15 bucks and under. Homemade is always great! You can be creative and put a few little items in a stocking or buy/make 1 item that will spread a little Christmas cheer. If you are ok with sending a gift to someone out of state, please let me know that too.

The deadline is, of course, Christmas unless you'll be mailing it then you'll want to get it out earlier.

Please answer the questions that would be most helpful to the person who will be your Secret Santa:
Favorite color?
Fav. food?
Fav. animal?
Fav. style?
Fav. scents?
Fav. candy?
What do you like to collect?
What do you do for fun?
What do you like to read

My e-mail is
The deadline to sign-up is Monday, Nov. 30th
Have fun!!

Ten broken rabbits

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It was a good day yesterday.

Wanna know why?

*Down 10 lbs - the Dr's scale even said so.

*I made $244.00 selling my broken jewelry.

*The rabbit didn't die.

Don't forget the lyrics

Friday, November 20, 2009

Have you ever sang along to a song on the radio and misheard the lyrics?

It's always funny when someone does this. Jon and I still have jokes about some lyrics we've gotten wrong. Of course we never let each other forget.

Like when I realized that Coldplay's Viva La Vida song is saying "Roman Cavalry choirs are singing" not "Roman Catholic choirs are singing." Or when Jon sang "In the dunes of the cave" instead of "In the dunes of the cape" to the Rupert Holmes' song Escape aka "The Pina Colada song."
"Duh, caves don't have dunes" is what I think I said to him.

I got to thinking about other songs easily misunderstood.

One time I was walking passed a tent of girls at camp and they were rocking out to Van Halen's "Panama" and I heard them say instead, "cannon ball, cannon ba-hall, cannon ball, cannon ba ha ha ha ha ha, cannon ball." Of course I was thinking they were dorks for messing that up...

I laughed so hard when my friend sang Bon Jovi's, Livin on a Prayer- one line says "Gina dreams of runnin away, when she cries in the night Tommy whispers, Baby it's okay, someday." She sang it as "Tommy whispers, baby it's Christmas, someday." I told her that wasn't going to make Gina feel any better with their money problems and all. We laughed for a long time over that. She got me back though, several times over.

Some others -
The Beatles/I saw her standing there, where it says "I'll never dance with another" could be "I'll never dance with your mother."

U2/Pride, "Shot rings out in the Memphis Sky" I once thought was "Shudderings of a Memphis Sky" - doesn't even make sense I know.

How about Jimi Hendrix's famous, Purple Haze? "Excuse me while I kiss the sky" misunderstood as "Excuse me while I kiss this guy."

Of course the song Blinded by the Light sung by Manfred Mann which says "Revved up like a deuce another runner in the night," always misquoted as "Wrapped up like a douche." I knew it couldn't possibly be that and luckily, I listened closely.

Or the Rolling Stones' "I'll never be your beast of burden" as "I'll never leave a pizza burnin." Another song often misquoted in the food theme, Billy Joel's You may be right- "But it just may be a lunatic you're looking for" as "But it just may be a tuna fish you're looking for."

And Gwen Stefani's (No Doubt) line from I'm Just a Girl - "I'm just a girl all pretty and petite" I took as, "I'm just a girl all ready to eat."

Apparently there was a scientific study done on why we do this and misheard lyrics are even referred to as Mondegreens. I guess if we aren't seeing the singers lips, the brain is only processing one piece of information and making it's best guess.
Whatever the reason, I just think it's funny and I'm sure I'm not the only one whose brain is guessing wrong...right??

Bring on the Commercialization

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The only picture of myself I could find at Christmas time taken prior to the Bells Palsy Incident of 2006. I am sticking my arm into my sister's children's tree
to retrieve a ball...who said never to play ball in the house??

It is true, as soon as Fall hits, the Christmas displays in stores are going out, even before Halloween.
Every year it seems that this happens earlier and earlier. Even the Black Friday sales are starting early and they promise to bring deep discounts.

And while some have grumbled about this, present company included and to which I understand, remember that retail does want your money. They want to capitalize on every minute before Christmas day hits and they start earlier every year so as not to miss a single moment or dollar. After all that is their goal, especially when forecasts point to a gloomy selling season.

I only wish they would've given these kinds of discounts long ago but that's beside the point.

I heard Christmas music in the store yesterday and I liked it. I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but is it ever too early to remember the birth of the Savior of the World?

I don't think so - not when He is so desperately needed.

So setting aside the commercialism that the Christmas season brings, I like to remember that the true Spirit of Christmas lies with the Lord and within my heart.
And the rest - the lights, music, Christmas movies, people ringing bells outside the store, gift wrap, a neighbor who goes totally nuts with decorations and makes your house look like the Grinch house, presents, trees, parties, turkeys, glorious mounds of buttery mashed potatoes, cookies, cakes, more cookies, pumpkin pie, apple pie, did I mention cookies?? are all just little extras that can enhance the season we are so lucky to freely celebrate and I love it all.

When I was overseas, there were no decorations around town. This was a Buddhist nation and Christmas was just a regular work day. As night fell we were biking to a friend's home for dinner. I passed a store that had a little Christmas tree in its window decorated with twinkling lights. It was sweet and all alone like The Charlie Brown tree.

My Japanese friend loved that tree and remarked that I was lucky to be an American where such displays are common place. She thought it was probably really pretty in America and wished she had that in her country. Homesickness twinged my heart. It was pretty back home and also right there, staring at that little store front.

So to retailers I say, commercialize Christmas all you want, knock yourselves out - Thank you for allowing me another opportunity to publicly remember that sweet, little Babe born so many years ago.

Small house goodness

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Some of my family members gathered in the kitchen of my brother's house
Over the past year the talk of the economy and its effect on American households has been the topic of many news articles, stories and talks from the pulpit.
People are downsizing their homes and finally feel that it's okay to live within their means. That is the part that baffles me. When wasn't it okay to live within your means and when wasn't it okay to live in a small house?

Yesterday there was a family on t.v. who found themselves unemployed with a large mortgage payment looming. After 6 months, they sold their house and possessions, bought an RV, got wireless Internet, started homeschooling 2 kids and hit the road. They are traveling all over the country . When the teen-age son was asked if he ever wanted to go back to their big house, he said "No way."

He said in his old house they were all in their own rooms, running off with their friends, at school events and never at home together. Now, they are in tight quarters but are having the time of their life and he wouldn't change a thing. The father finally found a job that he could do from home, or RV, so they have an income now but aren't ready to go back to their old life. I was envious. Traveling with my family is one of my dreams.

It just goes to show, we're not defined by what we have. Or, we shouldn't let that define us. Not all kids need a million things. More than anything they want your time. My oldest daughter and I ran off to Target the other day, and as we got in the car she said to me, "Mom, I miss this...when it's just me and you." It seems in the daily grind, I've gotten lazy with our dates with the kids alone.

It's okay to surround yourself with the things that you love; I know I have some possessions that give me great joy - knowing it was my grandmother's china or a tablecloth made by my mom. But I guess it's more important that you surround yourself with things that love you back.

Sometimes I wish for a bigger house when there are 5 kids, 1 bathroom and no real laundry room. But even if we had a big house, I still think they would all gather in one room to play and follow me from room to room. It's not the house they want to be with, it's me, us, each other and I like hearing their laughter. Not so much the fighting, but that's part of the deal I guess.

And besides, like Erma Bombeck said, "Things taste better in small houses." Which is great - anything to enhance my culinary efforts would be appreciated.

Proud to be a Papermaker

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Mascot!

My parents with my sister at her graduation from CHS
ca 1981
The Mill


LaCamas Lake - the drive toward my home

Camas downtown

I was once a Leopard and a Spartan.

A few years later I was a Penguin and went on to become a Viking which has now morphed into a Cougar.

But the one that always gives people a pause is the Papermaker.

I am from the little town of Camas in WA state that is not so little anymore. It is situated on the Columbia River and in its heyday, was a full on Mill town.
The pulp and paper mill is still there although it has scaled back it's workforce. Growing up almost everyone in town worked for the mill. When they went on strike, the line for free meals at our school was 3 times longer than the cold lunch line. We were on strike for a long time. Every one had mortgages through the local bank in town. My parent's bank froze their mortgage until the mill was off the strike and they were able to resume payments, which lasted about 6 months the first time. I don't see banks doing that anymore.

We were proud of our town and knew it was a little gem, quietly tucked away in the East part of the county. Portland was just 25 minutes across the bridge so we had all the advantages of a progressive big city and the safe confines of a town where everyone seemed connected.

We were a small high school with 764 students, just a few kids over an AA standing, playing against larger schools. We endured being called "Toilet paper makers" and were constantly blamed for the sulphur smell that was heavy - only at certain times... They thought we were all just hicks from farm country. We were teased about our name, the Camas Papermakers and especially about our school mascot, the mean machine. It was supposed to be a big, gnarly, paper machine with thrashing teeth. One of the actual paper machines, No. 9, was named after my dad - Dobby. You don't see many schools that had a mean machine as a mascot. The closest were The Tillamook Cheesemakers in Oregon. Yes, that's for real. But we, along with Tillamook, weren't ordinary. Any school USA could be a lion, panther or bear, but a mean machine? No, that could only be us. It would be a safe bet to say that we were the only ones who checked the toilet paper in bathroom stalls to see if they were supporting the mill by using Crown Zellerbach paper goods. Even Jay Leno gave a shout out to Camas for being a strange mascot school.

I graduated high school with almost everyone that I played with in Kindergarten. Many of our dads worked together, volunteered at the Fire Department, our moms helped out in the schools; our coaches also coached our older siblings and cousins.

I always felt lucky that I could grow up there. Every time Jon and I move, we always look for a town reminiscent of that hometown in Washington.
Going back home a few times over the years, I have seen it change.
Once where my dad would hay the fields has given way to development. The place where our old barn stood and my horses grazed on the grass is now a double lane road. Our little school on the hill is now an elementary school and the new high school holds 1600 students and is a state of the art building. It's one whose football team now rolls over the larger schools.

And all those kids that teased us are now parents who want their kids to be Papermakers.

Its looks may have changed, but the gem I always saw is still quietly tucked away under the evergreens. It has fabulous views of Mt. Hood and vistas as far as the eye can see. I don't know if we'll ever go home again. I'm afraid we'd be disappointed at the changes but it's good to know that family, friends and our Camas pride is still there.
So, we are the Papermakers.
What was your mascot? Any takers for the Banana Slug? Boll Weevil?
Do tell.

I hope he feels the same

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'm in love with another boy.

But don't tell my husband.

His eyes, his hair, that smile...{sigh}

I'm glad I saw him first because if you did, I would be jealous.

Give-a-way Winners!

Monday, November 2, 2009

My first ever give-a-way for a subscription to Better Homes and Gardens Magazine was won by Mary ftom A Day With Me and Linda (Matt-n-Linda99.) They were chosen at random by sticking my hand into a hat (Trae's Halloween hat to be exact) and pulling out two pieces of paper with their names on them. Not hugely scientific like but it works for me and apparently for you two as well!

Now I just need you both to e-mail me at with your address! Congratulations!
Continue making your homes a haven for your family and friends and maybe my next give-a-way will find a place in your house.
*photos courtesy of

Bells Palsy Blues and an FAQ

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What is that you ask?

It is a strange thing that happens when you get a virus and it has no place to go so it quietly lands in the 7th cranial nerve, becomes inflamed and makes your face go all weird.

That happened to me 4 years ago, 2 days after I gave birth. Which I found out is when it is prime time for a strike - in the third trimester. Luckily, it's temporary for most people.
(long post alert!)
I had a cold virus 2 weeks before I had Blair and it sent me in to false labor - this is when the Dr. thinks the problem started...

I had Blair on a Wednesday in October, 2005 and was feeling awesome but then when I was being released on that Friday, I felt a little funny. Couldn't place it - just felt odd. I figured I was a little swollen from labor and drugs - yes, I used them and loved them - whee!

I stopped by the church on the way home from the hospital to decorate for the Halloween Party and I was feeling dizzy. Again, just gave birth and standing on a 15 ft. ladder - didn't think anything about it other than I was crazy. My husband and the kids were helping btw... I stayed home from the party but kept getting calls like, "Where are the awards for the chili cook-off?" "So-n-so is freaking out!" "Did you know you can put chocolate in chili?"

Each time I spoke, I felt like my lips were swelling but didn't pay attention to it. By Sunday I was having a hard time speaking. So, I called my sisters-in-law and brother-in-law who are all in the medical field. They asked me a series of questions, worrying of a stroke. I kept insisting I felt fine; it was just my face that wasn't working.

After hauling all 4 kids in to the emergency room with me at 1 am, the doctor thought I was experiencing anxiety. Yeah-I-just-hauled-4-kids-in-here-in-the-middle-of-the-night-and-waited 2-hours-to-be-seen-dufus-anybody-would-be-having-anxiety- is really what I was thinking. Then he said I could've saved a ton of money if I had just called my doc. Now that gave me anxiety. I didn't even know I could call. Who was the dufus now?

So I called my Dr. and after he asked me a few questions, again the stroke issue came up, he said, "I bet it's Bell's Palsy." Bell's what??
He said to stop by the next day and he'll check me out. By then, half of my face was paralyzed. I went in and my Dr. said, "Yep, it's Bells Palsy" from just one look.
He said to think positive; I was half way to a great Halloween costume!
His nurse and I promptly hit him.

It would take a month before I could get in to the Neurologist but within a few days, the other side of my face went paralyzed. Full facial paralysis! Couldn't blink, talk, smile, eat, drink, kiss my husband, nothing.

My face had totally fallen. I looked like a sad Basset Hound. Jon called the neurologist and said "You don't understand, her whole face is paralyzed!" So they promptly ushered me in and said the odds of anyone having Bi-Lateral Bells Palsy is super slim. Why couldn't it be the lottery I won with those odds? I had a thorough exam to rule out a tumor. When they ruled everything out, Jon kept saying "It is not a toomah," Schwarzenegger style.

Even when I was laughing inside, I looked like I was crying. In the store, strangers would come up to me and tell me "it's hard havin' a baybee,(insert southern drawl) it'll get easier next taame." I would just nod my head...
I resorted to wearing glasses indoors, even while shopping, getting my hair cut, out to dinner...and suddenly I was a rock star who wore sunglasses at night, just like Bono...

Did you know you drool all the time when your face doesn't work? And food doesn't stay in your mouth? And you have to use eye cream at night to shut them so you won't scratch your eyeballs and keep them moist? I would have to feel my way to the bathroom to wash up in the morning. And your face is sooo sore? I felt like I had just gone a couple rounds with Laila Ali. Oh, and in the middle of all of this, the Hargray Cable guy of Hilton Head Island slapped Reese on the arm twice while he was in our Apt. fixing the cable! They never apologized. (that story for another day. Remember, I hang out with crazies?)
Anywho, everyone from church was calling when word got around. The calls came and the conversation was like this...

me -"Huh"

"How are you""

me -"Oh -ay"

"I heard you can't talk, is that true?"

me -"Uh huh"

"How's the baby?"

me -"aihh"

"Did you say, sick?"

me - "no, aihhh.."

"Did you say, Kind?"

me - "no aiiihhna."

"Oh, FINE??" and we'd laugh and my eyes would water.

(remember you need your tongue to talk and mine was paralyzed)

"Wow, you really can't talk, is there any thing we can do for you?"

me - "oh"

"Well, get some rest and we'll keep you in our prayers, love you"

me -"oh haaa., uff oo ooh."

And after that I was exhausted but I appreciated all the calls. The people who
rally around you are priceless.

My mom called everyday, which she did anyway, but this time she'd say,
me- "Oh, hi ahh.."
"Don't talk, just listen..." (she loved doing this :)

It was really funny when I would check out at Target and they would do the asking for my phone number thing, I'd say "eigh, si, reh, si, seh, oh, aih.."
"I'm sorry what was that?" Clearing my throat, I'd say, "EIGH, SI, RE.." and suddenly embarrassed, the clerk just started pressing buttons hysterically.
Good times.

I had soup for 2 months straight which was great for losing the baby weight! By December, my right side was coming back which made me really happy. We went to Disney World then and I only took a few pictures because in each one I looked like I was angry or had just seen a ghost. I have a picture of me next to Mr. Incredible and I look like I am disgusted with him, poor guy.

In my mind I thought I was smiling. I would look at the picture thinking, "hey - I think this is gonna be good" but upon looking at the picture I still looked like a lady with way too much botox and a bad eye job. The kids would ask me to smile to purposely watch my face all contort and then we'd erupt in fits of laughter. Then the drool started and everyone would laugh harder.
That was some funny stuff.

By March 2006, the other side was coming back but it sustained more nerve damage. So unfortunately, one side of my face doesn't work as well as it did and I lost my nice symmetrical, big grin. The Dr. said I was lucky to have that much healed so I'll take it. When I am tired it shows up more than usual which seems to be the case this weekend.
So, there you go, a long answer to an FAQ of why I don't like pictures of myself that much.
Luckily I am more comfortable behind the lens anyway! And I'm thinking that soup diet might do me some good now to take off this baby weight.
It seems to be hanging on for dear life...