Sunday, June 23, 2024


It's been a month since I wrote a Ten Things of Thankful post?!

I've been thankful, really, I have been. But exhaustion, both physical and mental, won out. Here's to getting back on the ol' horse (hopefully not one headed to the glue factory).

I'm thankful we had a beautiful spring and hope to remember it when I am melting in these ridiculous temps.

My dad is busting out of rehab this week after needing four weeks of daily IV antibiotics for an infection in his hip. 

I'm thankful for Nikki, who has made sure I had time off to help my dad throughout this latest adventure.

I'm thankful for the many people who filled in for me at work when I have needed to be gone.

My husband gets the biggest thanks during this time, as he has spent as much, if not more, time helping with my dad than I have this past month #worksremotely

I was able to get away for Kansas City Pride festivities, working at the Community Christian Church booth one evening and enjoying the TWO HOUR parade. 

I got to visit with my dear friend Esther when I was in Kansas City. I feel a post about the two of us is in my future. Stay tuned.

We also ran down to Little Rock for two days to see our son and daughter in law before they move to Washington DC this week. They have completed their medical residencies, and now it's off to a new chapter!

I attended a week-long training on play-based learning, and I'm now in the process of converting my classroom to accommodate this. It's going to be a tremendous amount of work to get it going, but once I have an arsenal of lesson plans, it will get easier. And my kids helped me move shelves, toys, and rugs around the room and were very excited to be tasked with helping!

My husband had a tick on him last week. So far, he hasn't turned into a tick, nor has he shown any symptoms of some icky tick-borne disease.

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Sunday, May 19, 2024

But It's Going To Get Better

I keep telling myself, "If I can just get through this week, everything will be great."

It's been about, oh, 32 weeks now, and I can assure you that everything is NOT great. But if I make it through this upcoming week, a few things will be easier. I think.

Quick Ten Things of Thankful:

No severe storms this week for us!

I had a four day work week, thanks to my daughter's law school graduation being on Sunday evening. 

We had beautiful weather most of the week and got lots of much needed outside time at school.

One of my kids brushed a bug off his head during circle time. Something made me look for it, and I'm SOOOO glad I did, because that niggling feeling was right - it was a tick. Ick. I stuck it to a piece of tape so the kids could all see it.

We had a fun talk about checking for ticks after this little incident.

I cleaned my closet and found a set of Erimish bracelets in a bag that I had completely forgotten I had even bought. It was like a mini Christmas, especially since they were Christmas bracelets! I think I ordered them when they were on sale after Christmas. Maybe. Who knows?

Black Cherry Propel water has been my go-to (after my morning Diet Dr Pepper) recently. It feels like summer.

One of my favorite student workers made the best homemade chocolate chip cookies I have  ever eaten and brought them to school as a thank you for being flexible with her schedule (she is incredibly dependable and fantastic in the classroom and I should be making HER chocolate chip cookies) AND she shared the recipe with me!

My husband and I ran out to Silver Dollar City on Saturday to listen to a little bluegrass music. It was a gorgeous day for it!

My dad's Tahoe needed a new battery, so we drove it to O'Reilly Auto Parts, because we had just gotten a new battery for our car there and they install the battery for you on the spot. Well. They don't do it with newer cars that have all the electronics, but I didn't know this until I had already bought the battery and the guy asked me if I wanted him to put it in the back of my car and I said I was hoping he'd put it under the hood. We didn't have time to find a place to install it that weekend, so I made an appointment THIS weekend to get it done. I made the appointment for 8 am on Saturday, because I wanted to get it over with, but when we tried to start it, of course it was dead. I had already missed the appointment to get the battery installed, and they were really nice about it and said I could bring the car in whenever we got it started and they would fit me in. We called AAA to jump the car, and the NICEST man came, and instead of jumping it, HE INSTALLED THE BATTERY FOR US. What a thankful!

I spoke too soon about those severe storms. There are storms in Oklahoma and Kansas, and we may or may not be affected. It's been a rough spring on a lot of folks, and hopefully, we are nearing the end of the worst of tornado season.

There's still a whole hour to join the hop!

I didn't take a picture of the tick. Or the battery.
Or the cookies. But I always take pictures
of my sweet girl Nora Pearl

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Sunday, May 12, 2024

Spring Weather Is Not For The Weak

I slept through the deadline for last week's Ten Things of Thankful. I seem to be perpetually worn out and I can't get enough sleep. I'm in an exhausting season of my life. I think it's more mental than physical, but since the only way to give rest to the mental part of me is physical sleep, then that's what I've got to do until someone gives me a better idea (totally open to any and all suggestions, so bring 'em on). Now I've got some making up to do with a couple of weeks' worth of thankfuls:

I finished the A to Z Challenge! I had a lot of fun poring through memorabilia from my childhood for the Challenge. I teared up over some of it, but by and large, it was delightful to revisit my past. 

My husband and I spent the last weekend in April working on my parents' house, continuing to sort through items and box them up for either moving or donating or selling. We've had a ridiculous amount of thunderstorms and rain this spring, and that weekend, it seemed to rain non-stop. Not that it would have really mattered, but I didn't think to check the basement until Sunday afternoon when my dad called to ask if it had leaked. 

You know what's coming next, right? There was an inch and a half of water all over the basement. I know this exact measurement, because I stood on the bottom step and stuck a ruler in the water. And as I stood there, surveying the ruined boxes and other items, I would hear "blurrrrrrPPPP" coming from different places around the perimeter of the basement, followed by rippling water. The water was still entering the basement (I read that this happens when the ground is so very saturated that the pressure of the water in the ground causes it to push into basements and foundations). There was nothing I could do at the time, so we left and hoped for the best. We returned on Thursday, and all the water had receded (yay!) but there's a crap ton of stuff that will need to be thrown away (see introductory paragraph about my current state of exhaustion). It could have been a LOT worse, so there's that.

Now, back up a few hours on Thursday to about 1:30 in the afternoon. All almost all of the children at our school were sound asleep. I, myself, was trying NOT to fall asleep as I waited for my last little hold out to drop off to la la land when a shrill tone came over the intercom system, followed by an announcement that we were under a tornado warning. I jumped up, stuck my head out in the hallway, and yelled, "Is this for REAL?!" Because if it was a malfunction of the system, I was going to be ticked, really ticked.

Not a malfunction. I flipped on the lights, told my kiddos that they were getting their wish to go visit the room in the basement where we keep all the extra toys and equipment and where they have asked to go ever since the last time we had a tornado drill some six months earlier. They all popped up from their cots, got an Exit Buddy, and out the door, down the hall, and into the basement we went, along with all the other children (around 70 in all, ages 1-5 years old). We all made it safely to the basement and our safe place in two minutes (woot! woot!), the kids found it exciting rather than scary, and we sang every. single. song. I could come up with before we got the all clear some 40 minutes later. There was some wind damage, some possible tornado sightings (and definite radar detected rotations in the clouds), but nothing came closer to us than four or five miles. Huge thankful!

The first weekend in May was relatively quiet. We should have enjoyed it more.

As early as the day we had the tornado warnings, meteorologists were predicting big storms for Monday night. How do they know these things, anyway? They were correct, and our favorite meteorologist was amped for the event. We watched as he tracked tornadoes on the ground from Oklahoma on across to southwest Missouri. The storm was nearing us, and my husband decided he needed to pack a small bag to take to the basement (I only had plans for grabbing Finn [the other two cats will follow out of curiosity] and my purse and go to the basement). I asked my husband what he packed in his little bag, and he said, "Four pairs of underpants, an extra tshirt, and a pair of socks." "Why four pairs of underpants?" I queried, and his answer was, "Because if this tornado really happens, I'm going to shit my pants!"

About that time, there was a crash on our roof. I grabbed Finn and Nora and ran to the basement. The sirens were blowing and the wind was terrible. It was fast moving, however, and I didn't have to stay down there more than ten minutes. Our house seemed to be intact (found out the next day a tree branch did break off and hit our roof). A small tornado did skip through town, however, and it touched down on a portion of the path from the devastating and deadly 2011 Joplin tornado, so that was scary. No one got much sleep that night.

Wednesday afternoon. Same scenario as the previous Thursday. Kids asleep. All quiet (or so we thought). Announcement comes over intercom that we were in a tornado warning, and it was same song, second verse. We woke up children all over the building, hustled to the basement, and spent an hour waiting for the all clear. Again, there were small tornados touching down in the area, but we were safe. I think I'm ready for spring to be over.

And this weekend? Oh, nothing much. We're in Kansas City. The weather has been lovely. Oh, yeah, and MY DAUGHTER GRADUATED FROM LAW SCHOOL!!! YEEEEEEHAWWWWW!!!

Dodging tornadoes and graduating attorneys. They both have been wild rides!

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Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Z is for Zinc (and Copper)


#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter Z

I am in the process of sorting through everything in my parents' home, and in so doing, I have been looking through all my childhood memorabilia, the majority of which I hadn't seen since my parents packed up my belongings and moved them from the home I grew up in to this house some 45 years ago. My 2024 A to Z Challenge theme is based on the treasures I have found in the boxes and the drawers and closets. Join me on my bittersweet journey back to my childhood.

The debacle that created my post for Y is for Yikes resulted in me looking up how much four pounds of pennies would be worth. The answer was not as straight-forward as you would think. 

From 1944-1946, and again from 1962-September 1982. pennies were made from what they called gilding metal, a combination of 95% copper and 5% zinc, and each weighed 3.11 grams. From 1947-1962, they were made from bronze, which was a mix of 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc and also weighed 3.11 grams. Since October 1982, however, pennies are copper-plated zinc and comprised of 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper (I think we've had the wool pulled over our eyes on that one) and weigh in at 2.5 grams each. If the pennies in my Raggedy Ann (yes, I will die on that hill) bank were minted after September 1982, which they weren't, then they would be worth approximately $1.82 a pound. Pennies minted from 1944-46 and 1947-62 would come in at $1.43 a pound. My (at the time) life savings inside Raggedy Ann came to about $5.72. Abraham Lincoln's profile appeared on the front of these pennies, and on the back of pennies minted up to 1959 was two stalks of wheat (which I thought were bananas and referred to them as banana pennies) and the Lincoln Memorial from 1982 to the present.

Pennies minted from 1859-1909 were known as Indian Head pennies and featured Liberty (as in Statute of) wearing a head dress and were made from bronze after 1864. 

My mom had a jewelry box on her dresser from ever since I could remember until some time in the early 1990s. I loved looking through the beautiful treasures inside, all of which were simple costume jewelry but seemed like so much more to little me. It was white with gold trim and when you lifted the lid, there were two boxes that lifted up and out to reveal more storage underneath, and it was there that my mom kept a small plastic bag with Indian Head pennies inside. She would let me look at them occasionally, but they were always returned to their bag and tucked into the bottom of the jewelry box.

Maybe 10 or 12 years ago, my mom divided up the Indian Head pennies and shared them between me and my brother, at which time I tucked mine into the bottom drawer of my own jewelry box. That old jewelry box of my mom's has been on a dresser in one of the upstairs bedrooms at my parents' house, some odds and ends of her old costume jewelry still inside, and it reminded me of my stash of Indian Head pennies. I pulled them out tonight to give them a good look.

The dates range from 1881-1909 and they vary from still a little shiny to worn flat. This one is barely worn and feels thicker than the other coins:

The entire Indian Head and the writing was completely worn off this coin. I imagine someone carrying it around in their pocket, perhaps as a lucky penny, and any time that person was anxious, they ran their thumb over and over, around and around, until the image on the coin was polished smooth.

This penny is from 1892. Can you even?!

While each coin is probably only worth $2 or $3, the true treasure is that some great, great grandparent who couldn't have even imagined me held onto these bits of copper and zinc and passed them on, as someday, I will, too.

Peace out, A to Z Challenge. Until next year....

Monday, April 29, 2024

Y is for Yikes!


#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter Y

I am in the process of sorting through everything in my parents' home, and in so doing, I have been looking through all my childhood memorabilia, the majority of which I hadn't seen since my parents packed up my belongings and moved them from the home I grew up in to this house some 45 years ago. My 2024 A to Z Challenge theme is based on the treasures I have found in the boxes and the drawers and closets. Join me on my bittersweet journey back to my childhood.

I tasked myself with cleaning out the vanity in the half bath of my parents' house. The bathroom is separated from the kitchen by a little mudroom that has a doorway to the garage and one to the laundry room. There is a small, curtainless window just above the toilet where our family spent years mooning the deer in the woods behind the house and possibly an occasional Pendrak from next door (sorry, Pendraks).

The drawers in the vanity held fairly straight-forward items: a comb, a pair of thinning shears (slightly odd, but not questioning my mom's probable intent to trim her hair with good lighting from that window), Bath & Bodyworks Wallflower plug-ins, extra soap. I opened the doors to the part of the vanity underneath the sink expecting to find the same sort of routine, mundane bathroom items, and instead, I found this:

It's my chalkware Raggedy Ann bank and she is NOT SUPPOSED TO BE STANDING AT THIS ANGLE. Look closely at her feet. LOOK AT THEM!!!

I carefully lifted her body, and her legs stayed where they were under the sink, her guts pennies spilling onto the bottom of the vanity and the floor. 

In the dampness under the sink, Raggedy Ann's legs and feet literally melted onto the bottom of the vanity. OH, THE HUMANITY!!!

I did a Google Lens search to find out more about her, since I don't remember when, exactly, I got her, but it was most likely in the late 1960s. The only thing I found out, and believe me when I say this adds insult to injury, is SHE ISN'T EVEN A RAGGEDY ANN! She is a knock off called RAGGI JILL. I spent my entire lifetime thinking she was a Raggedy Ann, but apparently, there is a copyright attorney out there somewhere who disagreed.

I picked up all the loose pennies from the floor and the inside of the vanity, and then I picked them out of the remains of Raggedy Ann's (sorry, I refuse to accept that she is not the real thing, so sue me) feet, where they were melted into the chalkware. I even found her plug.*

All I was left with from this travesty was approximately four pounds of pennies and the burning question, "WHO PUT RAGGEDY ANN UNDER THE BATHROOM SINK?!" I would surely have noticed at some time that she was under there, because I HAD to have gotten toilet paper out of that cabinet at some time, and, at 14" tall, there's no way I wouldn't have seen her.

RIP Raggedy Ann or Raggi Jill,
whoever you are

 * some people might say this was her butt plug ("some people" being my friend Nikki)

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Heartfelt Thankfuls

Quick Ten Things on this stormy Sunday evening:

I found this little heart in my bag of peanut M&Ms.

The severe storms that have plagued our area for the past few days only delivered rain to us and no tornado activity.

My friend Nikki and I got up EARLY Saturday morning to go to a warehouse sale of our very favorite accessories, Erimish bracelets. We both wear them every day, so it only makes sense to buy them on sale when we can!

I was "helping" Nikki make a decision between two bracelet sets by using Conscious Discipline on her when I heard my name and looked up to see the mom of one of my preschoolers, along with her daughter. The mom was laughing, as she not only recognized my voice, but she recognized the CD language I was using, because her daughter uses it at home, too! Double thankful here!

My husband and I stopped by an estate auction on Saturday and had an awful lot of fun. We hadn't been to one in several years, and we had never been to one without my dad with us. We missed having him there, but we still enjoyed ourselves and look forward to telling him about it next weekend.

The auctioneer, the crowd, and an 
unfortunate angle of a woman as
she's looking at auction item

I enjoyed quite the belly laugh at the auction when my husband tried to put his bidding card in the pocket of his tshirt and found he had put his shirt on inside-out that morning. I didn't notice it because the shirt was black, there was no tag, and I also wasn't paying attention.

We had breakfast this morning at my favorite place. There is no experience quite like eating at the counter at the White Grill and watching the line cook turning out food. It's magical.

A half Mess. Imagine a full-sized one....

I changed my nose ring last weekend for the very first time since I got the piercing in September. I am NOT thankful that getting the first ring out of my nose took me 45 minutes and was stupidly painful and continued to be so for six long days, but on the 7th day, NO PAIN! Yay!

You still have over four hours to join this week's Ten Things of Thankful! Do it!

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Saturday, April 27, 2024

X is for X-tra Melancholy


#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter X

I am in the process of sorting through everything in my parents' home, and in so doing, I have been looking through all my childhood memorabilia, the majority of which I hadn't seen since my parents packed up my belongings and moved them from the home I grew up in to this house some 45 years ago. My 2024 A to Z Challenge theme is based on the treasures I have found in the boxes and the drawers and closets. Join me on my bittersweet journey back to my childhood.

My husband and I met cute: over the phone through work. He was in Los Angeles, I was in Nashville, but we were both from the same part of Missouri, at one time, living only an hour from each other. After meeting in person two weeks after our first phone conversation, we dated long distance, then married thirteen months later (me in discontinued shoes). I moved to LA, where we both had careers in the music industry. We bought our first house, had our first baby, and then realized how important it was to us that our children grow up around their grandparents, and we moved to southwest Missouri. Our son had just turned two.

The plan when we moved back was that my husband would work at his family's mortuary, which required him to go back to school for a degree in mortuary science. He then spent the next year living in a sketchy apartment above a mortuary in Leavenworth, Kansas, and attending college (again) in Kansas City, Kansas. Weekends, he alternated between working for the mortuary where he was living and driving three hours to Joplin to work for his dad. All of this, which included giving up his dream job in LA, he did so we could live our best lives, and I do not take that lightly.

Meanwhile, as my husband was sacrificing time with his family FOR his family, two year old Kyle and I were living the life of Riley with my parents, including going with them to the lake house on the weekends my husband had to work in Leavenworth. Kyle and I moved into the upstairs of my parents' house in Nevada, Missouri, but Kyle quickly made himself at home alllll over the place. There were toy baskets in the dining room and sippy cups on the coffee table (with a coaster, of course). My mom's tastefully decorated and neat as a pin home soon sported dinosaurs on the end tables and stuffed animals in the chairs and books everywhere. My mom couldn't have been happier than she was while we were living there.

We bought a house in Joplin soon after my husband finished school, and no more living separately! It was hard on Kyle at first; he was used to cuddling on his grandma's lap every morning, drinking orange juice and watching "Blue's Clues" and visiting his grandpa at his farm supply store and watching westerns with him. Little by little, we moved most of the dinosaurs, the stuffed animals, and the other toys to our new home, but some of his toys and other items remained at my parents' house (a year later, baby dolls and hair accessories and more stuffed animals were added to the collection when our daughter Emma Kate was born). Eventually, the kids' toys were relocated to the bedrooms upstairs, and there they remained for the next 25 or so years.

Now I'm sorting through everything in the house, deciding what to keep, what to sell, what to donate. Going through my childhood items has been a trip down Memory Lane; occasionally bittersweet, but more often fun and, occasionally, cringey. The baskets and drawers with toys and items that belonged to my kids? They get me right in the heart.

I was cleaning out the upstairs bathroom vanity, pulled open a drawer, and found these, and I got a huge lump in my throat:

It may not seem like much; inexpensive bath tub entertainment made of fun foam. But Kyle loved his bedtime ritual of a bath (where he would have stayed for an hour at least if we had let him), books in the living room (which would have gone on for an hour if we had let him), followed by three songs (because this, too, would have gone on an hour if we had let him) after he was tucked into bed with his blankie, his binkie, and his Boo kitty. That full year he and I lived in that house with my parents was a golden time that I cherish. 

You know what really got me when I found those letters?

The little teeth marks. Some were Kyle's. Some were Emma Kate's. All are precious.