So, I'm sitting here at the computer checking out my usual online morning stuff:  the newspaper, e-mails, Facebook, blogs, and I get a message from a friend:  "What are you doing up at 6:30 on a Sat..?"  Obviously this friend doesn't have dogs or has never had children.  The girls actually let me sleep in this morning.  Maybe they are learning about weekends.
Since I'm new to blogging, I'm still looking for funny, enlightening blogs to read to waste spend my time.  Boy, have I found some!  There sure are a lot of them out there.  Anyway, I'm sitting here, enthralled in a blog, and I realize that I have to make some brownies for Middle Son to take to a "Team Building Session" for his high school soccer team!  So, I throw the mix in my Pampered Chef  Classic Batter Bowl (I am a Pampered Chef Snob!), throw in a couple  of eggs, and go get the veggie oil.  Oh, crap!  There's only (what appears to be) 1/4 cup in the bottle.  Wonder if I can sub olive oil or corn oil for the other 1/4 cup?  And, why in the world do I have corn oil in the pantry?  I dig deeper in the pantry, and find, not 1, but 2 unopened bottles of vegetable oil!  Now I realize I'm becoming more like my mother every day.  (This isn't a bad thing, case you're reading!)  With the brownies in the oven, I'm ready to get back to reading.
Apparently the brownies are "ham".  No idea what that means, or if I even used it in the right way.  Middle son put it in my terms:  They're gnarly!  OH! I get it now!  He also told his coach he was bringing some brownies, and apparently coach was pleased.  My brownies are out of the box, and nothing special.  It's the Pampered Chef Stone, I'm telling ya!  Middle son (who will be my "Snuggle Bunny" forever), said it's the love I put in it.  What a sweetie, and yes, I'm quite the sucker.  
I found a blog (Thanks, Nel!)  that is celebrating a 1 year blogiversary, and the author is sponsoring a give-a-way!  Here's the link:

Nothing much going on this weekend...usual weekend stuff (laundry, cleaning, being a domestic diva...).   I do have to take time out to go to the funeral for the sister of one of my childhood friends.  It's not a good thing to have to go to a funeral, but it is a good thing to be home so I can be there to support friends.

On a lighter note, here's a pic of my girls enjoying the sun this morning:

Meatless Friday

It's Friday during Lent. Here's what that means: No meat--at all--all day long. When I was growing up, for supper we would either have Tuna Casserole (a.k.a. Catholic Casserole), or fish sticks with mac & cheese and peas. We've come up with more "creative" ways to deal with Meatless Fridays, including spaghetti with only sauce, and cheese pizza. Then, there's always pancakes.
I'm doing great with my Lenten "promise" as I am calling it. People always talk about giving something up for Lent (like candy, sodas, etc.), but this year I'm going with doing something extra. The whole idea is to make it through Lent so that it doesn't seem like a "chore" to do it during the rest of the year.
Last Sunday at church we had the opportunity to take a "black book" (seriously, that's what it's called: "The Little Black Book") that has meditations of the Passion of Mark as well as some interesting facts. Here's an interesting fact from this week:
There's a town in Germany called Oberammergau that puts on a Passion Play every 10 years. You have to be originally from the town or have lived in the town for 10 years to participate. There are 1700 parts in the play. The origin of the play: The town thought they could escape the bubonic plague if they prohibited people from coming into the town. Someone got in and 84 people died from the plague. The villagers promised God that if he spared the town they would re-enact the story of Christ's death and resurrection every 10 years. The play is scheduled to be held this year for the 41st time.  So, here's what I'm thinking:  If a whole town can keep its promise to God for over 400 years, surely I can keep one for only 40 days.

"And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18)

Snow Day (Sort of)

I know, 2 posts in one day! I had to get this post in about the crazy day today. On my way to work, I encountered snow all over the road. It is a main highway, a U.S. Highway, a 5-lane highway. I was so surprised that it hadn't been plowed. I wasn't nervous about driving, as long as all of the crazy drivers (who think just because they have a 4-wheel drive they can go 60+ miles/hour) stayed out of my way. I was, however, nervous about this one little stretch right before the turn-off. It never gets any sun, is a big curve, and has a concrete barrier in the middle. Luckily I was the only one on that stretch of road, and it was no big deal. I made the turn, started to go over the bridge, and had to stop because there were about 10 cars in front of me that had stopped. I knew I was going to be late when I left the house, since I left the house late. (I need to blog in the afternoon when I have more time!) None of the cars are moving, there's a bus behind me, and, lo & behold, there's a bus that has made the next turn to go up the hill to the school.
Now I'm concerned that there's been an accident and the bus filled with kids is involved. Parents are turning their cars around, and I see a couple of coworkers out of their cars. Turns out the hill going to the school is a big sheet of ice. Also turns out that there's yet another bus that made it half-way up the hill before getting stuck. All 3 buses are filled with those sweet kids, ready for a day of learning!
minutes late
r, the salt truck comes and makes a couple of passes up the hill. All during this time, a coworker and I decide that we're really glad we're not on any of those buses with those smiling faces who are now all antsy and having a hard time sitting down. We finally get to drive up the hill. About 30 minutes later, Ms. Principal announces that those who left their cars at the bottom of the hill may want to go get them. So, I volunteer to make a couple of runs so that some of them can get their cars. Very few kids were there; I only saw 1/3 of the students I usually see. It snowed all morning, but by 1:30, the snow was gone. I'm not sure why school wasn't called off; we haven't used up all of our days, so it would've been okay. I'm also not sure why we don't have a plan for 2-hour delays, either. I know the Yankees are probably laughing hysterically at the idea of school being called off for 1/2- 1 1/2 inches of snow, but, y'all, we're just not equipped for bad weather!

Where's the snow?

The meteorologist sounded 'iffy' yesterday. I've learned by living here for 5 years (as an adult) to not pay a whole lot of attention to him when he talks about snow, especially if he uses the word "mountain" in with it. I got up, let the girls out: no snow on the ground. I looked over to the cars: there did appear to be something on the windshields. Looked up to the roof: Aaaahh! There it is! It did snow last night! Then, I get on the computer to check the school closings: we're not on the list, but the next county over (which is in the mountains) is. Okay, time to get my butt in gear and get ready for work. I really, really love my job, but an unexpected day off is heaven! Especially if the school system the boys are in have to go to school!
I have to include the view from one of my workplaces. This was taken last Tues. when there really was snow on the ground! I love the view from this window.

Last night middle son (who is a Senior) came to me at 8:00 and wanted to go meet friends. Uh, no, I don't think's 8:00 and a school night. Could I give him a reason? I thought I just gave him 2. Then, I get the obligatory "I can't wait until I'm out of the house and I can do what I want". HA! I knew I would eventually hear that! He got over it pretty quickly, as he usually does.

P.S. I just wanted to thank everybody that read my post yesterday and left comments! I've visited the blogs, and will be reading on a regular basis. Thanks for welcoming me to the blogging community!

Another PS: I just looked outside, and, yes, it is snowing. Here's the proof:
Still have to go to school: are you serious? Guess it's too late to call it off! It's gonna be an exciting day!

My First Random Dozen

I can do this. Not to be a copy-cat or anything (got the idea from a friend!), but I can do this.

This is the Random Dozen for the week:

1. Have you ever fired a gun or shot a bow and arrow?
Yes. I actually took Marksmanship as one of my PE's in undergrad school. I think it's good for everybody to know how to shoot a gun just in case. And, one time, shortly after I got married, my husband took me out shooting. I shot a coke can with a pistol. Husband was very impressed; I was very lucky! I never told him it was pure luck! And that was the last time I shot a gun.

2. Do you know where your childhood best friends are?
As a matter of fact, I do. We're in the middle of planning our 30th High School Reunion and I'm in charge of the contacts. I sure hope the reunion is as much fun as the planning has been!

3. Do you usually arrive early, late, or on time?
I really, really try to arrive early or on time. The older I get, the later I get.

4. Are you more of a New York or California type?
Okay, I'm not real sure what this means. I'm pretty laid back, which would be Cali, but I like my 4 seasons, which would be NY. Now that I think about it, I think I'm neither...just a Southern Girl at heart!

5. Do you have a special ring tone?
Right now I have "Fallin' for You" by Colbie Caillett. Such a catchy tune! And, yes, I change it according to the seasons: "Saturday in the Park" (Chicago) in the summer, "Down the Field" (UT Fight Song) for the fall & football season, and "Christmas in Dixie" (Alabama) for Christmas.

6. What is your favorite type of chip?
That's a tough one. Sun Chips are really good, but if I feel like I have to be good, Regular
Baked Lays make the list.

7. Best comedy you've ever seen is ....
Wow. I
love comedies. Adam Sandler movies are hysterical, the Goldmember movies are also really funny. It depends on my mood as to how funny I think the movies are. "Zoolander" and "Rat Race" are always good for a laugh.

8. Have you ever cut your own hair? To quote Dr. Phil, "How'd that work for ya?"
I don't think so. My dad cut our hair when I was little until mom (bless her heart!) stepped in and decided it was time for a professional to get involved!

9. If you were going to have an extreme makeover, would you rather it be about your house or your personal self?
Definitely my house. We live in a house that's almost 50 years old, and we're the 2nd owner. We couldn't beat the price or location, but it's definitely a fixer-upper!

10. Are you allergic to anything?
Thankfully, no. Wait...does housework count?

11. Why is it so hard to change?
For me, I like routine. It's my comfort zone. I don't like being outside of that zone.

12. One last question dedicated to February love: CS Lewis said, "To love is to be vulnerable." Please share one example of that assertion or share any thought you'd like to about this topic.
It's so hard to open your heart and yourself to someone. When your emotions are so strong and you put yourself out there, you open yourself up to being vulnerable and hurt. I remember such strong emotions, remember being hurt, but more importantly, remember being so much in love. The memories and experiences are part of what makes me the person I am today!

Good day for a Monday

What a way to start the week! The power went out just as I was preparing for my day at work. Talk about total chaos! I wonder if people with "real jobs" get worked up when the power in their workplace goes out. Luckily it was only out for about 15-20 minutes, and came back on just before 8:00 a.m. Too bad; if it had been out for an hour, we would have been able to call it a day. If the lunch ladies can't fix lunch, we can't have school. As the principal said: "No place to go from here but up ." Smart man, that Mr. Principal.
The other big excitement of the day was getting my schnauzer a halter. She had been using a leash, but at times will pull on it, causing her to sound like she's choking. She's quite the diva, so I'm not sure if it was an academy award performance, or if she was really choking! My Jack Russell Mix went to a halter a long time ago! Funny little dog; when we walk, she doesn't know where she's going, but she's going to be the first one there. After I got home, it took me about 15 minutes to figure out how to put the halter on her. Finally did it after my 15 year old son figured it out. So much for that Master's degree helping me out on that! My JR was going crazy, thinking it was time for a walk, and trying to get her head in the new halter. I finally gave in and we went for a short walk in the park near our house. Here's a picture of my little girls:

My husband got a new SUV last week, complete with built in garage remote! Great, except when he was trying to program it, all of the remotes got wiped out. So, I climbed the step ladder, squinted with my 40-something eyes to read the directions to re-program the remotes, and got them re-programmed. Even helped my husband get his remote programmed!
So, yes, Monday was a good day!

Beautiful Sunday!

Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous: Sunny and warm! It was so nice to go by the park and see so many people taking advantage of the public park near our house. Kids were on the playground, people were walking their dogs, some people had blankets spread out, and some were picnicking. I feel very fortunate to live in a town that values public space and takes excellent care of the public facilities. The picture above is just a little section of the park. Obviously this wasn't taken yesterday!
Another section of the park:
When I was growing up, the park didn't look anywhere near this nice! Oh, but what fun we had anyway!
The "King & Queen's Chairs": Can you seen them to the left of the picture? This was our "castle", complete with dungeon! Okay, so we had great imaginations back then!
Now I'm ready for a brand new work-week. It's starting out as a wet, cool one. This will be the second whole week we've worked since Christmas, unless we have bad weather during the week. I love living in the South!

First Post!

I decided to go ahead and create a blog. Why not? I follow one of my niece's blogs, as well as a blog created by the wife of a friend. I don't expect mine to be as exciting as theirs, but, what the heck? This is life in a small southern town that is nestled in the valley close to the Smoky Mountains.

I grew up in a large family, and most of us have found our way back home after living away. I know this sounds cliche, but after 9/11, I think a lot of people started realizing what is really important in life, and that is
family. With my parents getting older, I was ready to come home. I didn't expect to live quite this close to "home": Our house is just up the street from my parents' house, the house where I grew up.

I am quickly approaching an "empty nest". I'm learning to appreciate the hectic life of high school boys because it will be gone in the blink of an eye! My youngest son just earned his learner's permit. Why is it I can actually drive with him without getting too stressed out when there was
no way I could do that with my other 2 sons? It can't be that I'm getting old. Nope, no way that's it!

So, here is my life. It may be kind of boring, but it's mine!

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