Wednesday, December 31, 2008

From The Jar... #28

This is the final post of 2008. That is rather strange. I plan on making my book now and doing one every year that I blog. How exciting!

And the Jar says...

How did you become engaged?

Well, lucky for me (I guess), I've already written that crazy story out (poor Dustin!). Go to my October 9th post if you'd like to read that story! Look about the fourth question down.

Since I skipped last week, I feel I should pull another one. But I also feel, as this year is almost over I should finish a Jar pull that I never finished. Remember this one? Ya. That has bothered me for a long long time. Since September 10th, in fact. So... I think I'll finish it now!

And the Jar said, on September 10, 2008...

Describe your wedding day.

Wow!!! My wedding day rocked! Here's a quick (or not so quick...) rundown: Woke up early... 6:00am. Showered. Marveled that I would be married in a few hours. Tried unsuccessfully to quiet the butterflies in my stomach. Got out of shower. Gathered things we would need for the day (we were sleeping at my Grandma's in Salt Lake City). Honestly, I don't remember much about what happened before we left my grandma's house except that shower, the butterflies and, well, that's it.

After we left Grandma's house, we went to have my hair done and stopped at Burger King for a "Croissanwich" on the way. Claudio, my mom's hairstylist from before we moved to Idaho, was able to do my hair at the early hour of 7:00am. I specifically remember him asking if I wanted curled tendrils hanging down around my face (my hair was an updo with barrel rolls) and I said no because they would loose their curl and be flat within two hours- characteristic of my hair. While Claudio was doing my hair, my aunt Bronwyn showed up to do my makeup. My mom did my nails, I think. Well, I know someone did my nails anyway, cuz I have a picture of my hand and Dustin's hand and my nails were "done" (just a clear coat of polish and filed nicely... that's as done as my nails ever get.)

All prettied up and dress in hand, we went to the Salt Lake Temple (LDS). I've said it before, but I had, off and on through our engagement, been questioning my decision to marry Dustin. When we walked into the temple lobby area, and I saw Dustin standing there, a feeling of peace settled over me and I knew that my decision was right. I've never doubted since that moment.

We got all dressed up and the sweet people helping Dustin and I get ready took us to the Celestial room of the Temple to wait. It was such a beautiful room! After what seemed like forever (but was likely five or ten minutes) we went to the Sealing room. I recall very clearly my misty eyes as I walked into that room and saw so many of my friends and family including aunts and uncles and my incredible Grandpa Cochran who came from Houston to be with me on that special day. It was WONDERFUL! I haven't thought about this part of my wedding day for a long time, but typing this now brings it back. I felt the force of the Sealing Power so strongly on that day and I am so grateful to remember that now.

The sealer was so cute. I remember thinking that he looked like Colonel Sanders. I don't remember a lot of what he said, except a general feeling that I was participating in a powerful thing and that he quoted an exquisite Shakespeare poem that is now lost to my memory. I would love to find that poem someday. I also remember a feeling of love for that man who married us that was greater than it should have been for having never met him before that moment.

It's interesting typing all of this from the perspective of ten years down the road. At the time, I didn't recognize many of the feelings that I just typed above. I remember the misty eyes, but I didn't know why. I felt the power of what I was participating in... I know I did because I remember it, but I was unaware of it while it was happening. Time has sifted my feelings from the event and my current level of maturity and growth have given me a new awareness of the swirling eddies of Spirit that surrounded us that day. I am grateful for my Jar and for this Blog for bringing this out of my consciousness and for my readers with whom I can share it.

That was the beautiful part of my wedding day. The rest had beauty as well, but there was so much hectic chaos that it became almost comical. Everything happened perfectly and without incident up until we walked out of the sealing room. Then everything went haywire.

We were supposed to take pictures on the temple grounds at about 11:00. We had rented the tuxes in Idaho, where my mom and dad lived, and my dad had picked them up and brought them down. He hadn't realized as he went through the checklist of what he was picking up, that he was supposed to have a hoop-slip for me and my dress to keep it from dragging on the ground and to give it that look that the dress needed. We didn't realize this until the morning of the wedding. So, before and during the wedding, my sister called every place in the city she could trying to find a place that #1- was open, and #2- would rent her just a hoop-slip or something like it. We were married at 10:00 and most places aren't even open until then on a Saturday. Those she found wouldn't rent the slip to her. Finally, she found a woman who didn't have a hoop-slip, but had a very full netting slip and agreed to let her take it. I don't even think she made her pay to "rent" it, if memory serves. It was too big for me around the waist and we had to pin it, but it did the job. I should have given my sister a present and sent that woman a Thank You letter, but, at the time, I was fairly oblivious to the heroics that went on that morning with my sister and the woman at the bridal shop. I'll just take THIS moment, now, to say a huge THANK YOU to you, Sarah, and to the woman, whom I don't know, who helped my special day remain special. You were both unsung heroes on June 6, 1998.

So, while Sarah was trying to get a slip for me to wear, we realized that my dad had left all of the tuxedos, Dustin's included. (for those of you who might not know, in the temple, we wear white and D's tux was black, so the tux wasn't needed until AFTER the marriage ceremony.) Dad claims he didn't know it was his job to bring them, but I don't remember details well enough and he might not either! ;) Either way, the tuxes were not there for the pictures that were supposed to happen on the temple grounds. So someone raced back to my grandma's (who lived about 20 minutes from the temple, one way!) grabbed the tuxes and also my flowers which got forgotten (including the flower wreath that I was wearing on my head...), and raced back to the temple. We got out of the temple about an hour later than we were supposed to because of all the forgetting of things and the poor people who waited for us outside the temple waited for a long time. I was too oblivious to be embarrassed.

So, we finally made it out of the temple and got pictures taken, which was fun. We did just large group ones first and family pics, and then Dustin and I. Almost everyone left while D and I were getting our pics taken, including Dustin's dad, Roger, who had the keys to our car in his pocket. No one had cell phones back then (except my mom) and so we had to leave our car at the Crossroads Mall parking garage and catch a ride with my mom and dad who were waiting for us.

We got our clothes changed and went to the wedding luncheon where we were roasted by our loved ones. People told stories of Dustin and I and embarrassed us completely.

After the luncheon, we went back to my Grandma's where the reception was being held. Everything had gone longer than expected because we were so late coming out of the temple and we were supposed to have pictures in her lovely backyard at 4:00 with the wedding party. The photographer showed up, and we weren't ready. So, he went around snapping candid shots of us all. He snapped one just as I was realizing that no one told Dustin's two cousins, who were his "best men", that we were supposed to be taking pictures. It's a classic picture and I will try to scan it because my face in the picture sums up the chaos part of the day.

It all got very fuzzy after that. I know we took pictures, with all who were supposed to be in them, and finished the pics just as the reception was starting. We stood in a line and got tired feet and didn't eat anything but a melon ball and a drink of some kind of punch. We cut our cake, threw a garter and a bouquet and, at some point amidst all the madness, my mother-in-law pulled me and my sister into the large greenhouse-shed at my grandma's and made us sing our "Gaelic Song". Random? Yep!

The reception was supposed to go from 6-8:00 but we didn't leave until 10:00. We ran to our car with our bags and people threw birdseed at us. I didn't like that at all. It hurt and went down my dress and got stuck in my hair. (and ended up all over our room that night because it was falling out of my hair, dress, etc...)

We magically got our car back from Crossroads Mall parking lot (I say magically because I have no idea who picked it up), and when we went to get in it, someone had decorated it mildly on the outside and filled the inside TO THE BRIM with shredded paper. We couldn't even get in! I was mad about that. I don't know why... I should have expected it, but I didn't. Plus, you can usually climb IN the car, right after it's been decorated, right? You might have to wash the outside, but you can get in it and drive away!? Not us. We couldn't get in it until we removed about 5 garbage bags full of shredded paper. We vacuumed shredded paper out of that car for years.

For our wedding night, my family gave us a gift certificate to The Homestead in Midway, UT. It was a long, 40 minute drive after a VERY long day. When we got there I realized that we had left a bag with all my toiletries and my little [innocent and tasteful] negligee that my mom bought for me. I cried myself a little river right there in front of The Homestead because my little picture that I had created around that night was shattered. It all turned out fine, but I found out later that my mom had found the bag with my little items (including our toothbrushes!) and had cried too, because she knew I would be sad. :(

Our wedding day was such an awesome event in my life... even amidst all the craziness that happened! I am grateful for the chance to review it in my mind and get it down "on paper", so to speak. In the years following my wedding, I often called myself the "retarded bride" because I was such an oblivious goofball. I am grateful to the many people who pulled it together, namely my mother and father, Dustin's parents, my aforementioned sister, and my Grandma for hosting the reception. I had aunts and uncles who served the food and did all the behind the scenes things that were obscured by my oblivion. It was a success only because of all these heroes and I thank you, even if it is ten years late!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tue Pose a Question

Notice anything interesting and weird in these pictures?

Yes, I know Ella's face is the classic Christmas-morning-look-of wonder (click on it and make it big for the full effect), but that's not what I'm after.

Yes, Rohan and Mac love their new scooters and they are the most adorable snowman-pajama-laden boys ever to walk the earth, but that's not what I want you to notice either.

I know... Ella is loving her new stroller and her doll and she is a total girly girl with her purple snowman PJs, but keep looking...

Pure cuteness, but keep looking...

That crown, or halo, or whatever it is! That's gotta be it, right? (She wore that all the live-long day and looked so stinkin' adorable) No... she's cute as pie, but keep looking for something...

Wow! What a lucky guy! His very own MP3 player!! His wife must love him a lot to get him the very thing she wanted for herself!!! Keep noticing...

Cute, cute, cute...

Ella's face is classic, yet again, but what else do you notice?

Mac is growing up, I know, I know... but I want to see if you notice something else!?

We already covered that he's growing... I know he looks like such a young man, but have you noticed a consistent theme yet?

Girly-girl and halo/crown... what a character. Keep looking for it!

Oh, look! My brother! He would never have been so excited to get a set of sheets before he moved out of my parents house. But then he realized he can't just take everything with him that he wants because it's really my mom's... but now... look at the thrill of Egyptian Cotton!

My cute mom and her total surprise of a new sewing machine... something she would never buy for herself but her sneaky daughter notes every word that comes out of her mouth and found a deal on Black Friday...

That's the end. Did you notice? No, I'm not wondering if you noticed that we had a wonderful Christmas. Nor am I wondering if you noticed my kids are freakin' adorable. Did you notice who was missing from every single picture? Do you think that my children will wonder, as they look at pictures that document such events as this, if they had a mother? I tend to be the one who takes pictures, if they get taken at all. My face is, therefore, absent from most of the pictures in our lives. I know I am not alone in this phenomenon. I've heard other mother's blog about the same thing.

I just want my children to know that they, indeed, have a mother. Even though their mother is absent from Christmas morning pictures, she was sure to document her incredibly awesome bed-head a few days after Christmas! The one two days earlier was better, but the camera was full of Christmas carols and by the time I uploaded them, the hair had returned to a more normal state.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Manic Monday: Tradition

What is a tradition anyway? I've been trying to come up with a post at way to late an hour and I'm overly tired tonight... so, I'm trippin' out on the word tradition. I knew this word was coming as Mo planned them way in advance this month. I was one that even voted for this word that Mo was less than thrilled with. I excitedly saw myself writing about traditions of my childhood around the holidays.

Maybe it's because Christmas bowled me over like a large ocean wave in the speed and force that it came and went, or maybe it's because of Britta's post on tradition and what it brought to mind, but I can't do it. I should want to tell you about my joy in our tradition of caroling, but let's face it... caroling doesn't happen every year and I've experienced disappointment in some. I should want to tell about how we pull out the Nativity one piece at a time and tell the story each figure played in Christ's birth. But that is continually evolving with my adulthood as well.

The things I thought were traditions in my life that had a tendency to, as Britta said so well, "be thought, created, re-thought, analyzed, announced, planned, prepared for, executed and immortalized for all eternity" are morphing as I grow up. It's ok for me to shed some of these thoughts on how an event "should be". I can still do the things I love, but things change and so can I. I can let go.

So, where does that leave us? What is a tradition? I looked it up and one definition at says this:

tra⋅di⋅tion [truh-dish-uhn]

5. a customary or characteristic method or manner:

In my world, it is customary for me to say 'Thank You' when you do something nice for me or say a kind word to me. A characteristic manner of a kind heart is to open the door for someone who is struggling to do so themselves. A manner that is customary is to give someone a friendly smile as you walk past them, or even say 'hello'. A friendly wave when someone let's you into traffic...

Courtesy. Joy. Love. Friendliness. Some people have forgotten these traditions, and you can see it in the way they hold their shoulders and avert their eyes.

I ate at a restaurant today with my family and my in-laws. I was cold. I had pulled my coat over my shoulders and had my scarf around my neck. An older man walked past me and said with a crinkly smile on his face and a friendly chuckle in his voice, "Are you feeling a little chilly? You're all bundled up!"

"Yep! I'm freezing!" I responded, and we both smiled. He lightly touched my shoulder as he walked away.

Meaningless in the long run of either of our lives, so it would seem. But that small act of acknowledgment from that friendly old man makes me smile ten hours later. We connected. Brother and sister, in the family of humanity, connected for a moment of smiles and awareness of each other's existence. Who knows the consequence of a single such action? But a lifetime of them? It's easy to imagine... delight in hearts, health to bodies, and unity of spirits. In short, a more beautiful world.

People need each other. We need the love and joy that comes from, not only family ties, but from strangers saying 'Hello', or 'Are you feeling a little chilly?' We each have a gift to give, and we each have heart enough to do so in small and simple ways.

And that is a tradition I hold on to.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hi, My Name Is Clancy

Ya. Remember me? I'm Clancy, the writer of this blog. I've been a little inattentive with this, here, blog for the last week, but I'M BAAAACK!!! It's been a nutty-bar kind of week for me.

Monday I did NOT feel well. I just stayed home and stayed quiet. I think I was crashing after my "big choir day" the day before. I wrapped presents for about 10 hours. (part of that was organizing the presents and making sure all was "even" and I was up and down between wrapping and making PBJ's and breaking up fights. We didn't really have 10 hours worth of presents to wrap!) I did manage to stay in my pajamas all day and it was delicious.

Tuesday I watched my friend Rachel's kiddos for a bit and I went shopping for the finishing touches of our Christmas. I also did other things that I can't really remember, but I felt crazy.

Wednesday I made treats for neighbors and friends and delivered them, cleaned my house and made soup for dinner (I was done with our dinner soup by about 10:30 am. That's a noteworthy accomplishment for me. I don't usually even think about dinner until about 5:30 or 6:00... or 7:00 depending on the night). We went to my mom's at 5:00, ate dinner and went Christmas caroling to two old people who were alone for Christmas Eve. My little old friend cried and cried and hugged me for 5 minuets straight while I sang Silent Night and Joy to the world in her ear with my family singing harmony behind me. I was VERY glad we went to her and sang. Her joy was my favorite of the Christmas presents I recieved this year. My heart still warms at the memory.

During all these days I was trying to finish up a few last minute pretzel/apple orders and I was trying to sew stockings. For some crazy reason on Friday I decided to make all of us stockings. Rohan didn't have one, Mac and Ella's were falling apart (I had gotten them at the dollar store when they were little) and mine from my childhood didn't match. So I went shopping and picked fabric and of course couldn't just do the pattern as written... I had to make it hard and change parts of it that I didn't like. So I had to re-invent some things. But I like how they turned out. I need to put names on them or initials or something, but I let myself off the hook on that one cuz I was sewing until 1 am Christmas Eve. Here's a little pic of the finished products. What you can't see is on the other side I wrote all of our names on a little scrap of paper and pinned them on. It looks dorky, but then Santa knew who's was whose.
They were fun to make, and I was proud that I got them done and was in bed by 1:30am. Last year I think I stayed up until 3am and I wasn't even sewing! :)

So, let's just pretend that I wrote the following part of this post on Wednesday or Thursday when I had planned to:

Merry Christmas to all you lovelies! I hope you have a wonderful day full of the joy of family and the warmth of the Savior's love. Here is a little Christmas message from my family to yours. Please don't judge us as we didn't really practice, we just wanted to sing you a Christmas carol or two.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Manic Monday: Tree

The tree boughs were sagging with the weight of the white blanket that the sky gently laid down. They looked tired. I stared at them for a long time wanting to go and give them a good shake to relieve them of their burden. I smiled because that's just how I felt- relieved of my burden. The funny thing was, I didn't even know I carried the load until I woke up dreaming bad dreams about today.

I dreamed that the program was starting. I was in charge and I was at the back of the chapel. I thought that I was supposed to be there, but then I realized that I was in the wrong place and I needed to be up front. Strangely, as I realized this, the chapel was suddenly about two miles long and I knew I'd never make it up there in time because it had already started and the pianist was waiting for me to cue them to start.

I panicked, so Dustin and I ran outside and he drove me to the front of the chapel (which had become an ultra long trek). When I ran in the door, the Primary Chorister had brought all the Primary kids up to the stand early since I wasn't there to coordinate it. The pianist (Maria, for real) was playing the intro of Joy To The World over and over waiting for me. As I got up to where I would lead, the Primary kids were in the way and the pianist and the organist couldn't see me. I moved them several times, but they just kept drifting back in my way and I hit them with my arm as I led the song. I woke up in a panic and everytime I'd fall asleep again, I 'd dream something else bad. Finally I gave up and got out of bed at 7:30 on a Sunday morning... unheard of for me!

Needless to say, I was nervous and felt the weight of coordinating and carrying out my church Christmas program. Had I thought of everything? Had I miscalculated the time? Would the speakers go on too long and make us get out late? Would I remember to stand the choir up before they sing? Would someone bump my music stand in the shuffle of singers and send my music flying with a loud crash? Would I forget the cut-offs?

I was so busy worrying that I couldn't even enjoy it or tell if it was going smoothly or not. It felt choppy and disjointed. Don't get me wrong, there were tender moments... hearing the speaker talk of a Christmas in her childhood when she got a single stuffed bear for Christmas and her joy was full... hearing my brother sing with tender strength about Joseph guarding the baby Jesus... seeing my little Ella and her friends Emma and Angie sing "Away In A Manger" with their sweet, little, child-voices... hearing Maria's piano solo and letting the beauty of that performance make me feel buoyant and light... but those tender moments were constantly buried by the bigger worry about the clock, the time signatures and the cut-offs. Was anybody feeling the spirit and the message or were they picking up on my freaky-worried vibes? Was that a blank, bored face I just saw, or was he just absent from his body as the music carried him to a place only he could see and experience? I was neurotic. I was a roller coaster.

Then... the final cutoff came. I listened as the prayer blew threw my wind tunnel ears... I couldn't hear it, but it didn't matter. It was over and I was relieved. Relief was something I expected. What I didn't expect was fulfillment. There was a need in me that had somehow eluded my awareness and was now making itself known.

As person after person came to me with tears in their eyes expressing the beauty of the last hour, tears began to fill mine. My own aunt hugged me, crying, and told me that I had "saved her Christmas". Someone else told me that was the best church Christmas music program she had ever experienced. Another person held my face in her hands as she thanked me over and over. And yet another held my hands and told me how perfectly wonderful it was and how it was just what she needed. There were more... my mom, my dad, the Bishop, the Bishop's wife, a few choir members... they just kept coming and I was totally overwhelmed.

I really didn't do that much... except shoulder some responsibility, execute a plan that I had a lot of help with (thank you), and listen to other people make beautiful music.

It was the spirit of the music, the people and the Savior, Jesus Christ, that did all the work. It was touching to so many people and, even though I was too busy worrying to notice, I was bombarded with feelings joy and gratitude and service when it was all over because people shared how it touched them. I couldn't believe that I missed their joy and that I actually wondered if people were bored and thinking "Enough music, already!".

And then, as I went home, I was overcome with gratitude to my Heavenly Father for giving me the gift of arranging all of this, participating in it, and working with the many people who helped pull it off. I was overcome with the Spirit and I felt joy and love pulsing from me like a heartbeat and I thanked Him for my joy and my experience.

I feel humbled and gratified in a way that was so very unexpected. The world will never know, but for this little bit of my blog, the gladness of my heart and the magic of song, season and service.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

December 21

Happy Birthday to my little niece, Lily, who was born nine years ago today. It was a very exciting event in our family because she was the first niece, grandbaby, daughter of my siblings, great-granddaughter etc. She weighed 5lbs 14 oz... just a wisp of a girl. She's grown into a sweet little lady who is spunky and dramatic and loves to take care of my little Rohan! (I always ask if I can borrow her for a while) Happy Birthday, Lily!!!

And... in just a few short hours I will be done with our "big" Christmas program at church. I woke myself up with bad dreams about it. It was very weird and frustrating. But it will soon be over and all will be well.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas

I saw this last year but was reminded of it by my new friend over at Three Men and a Little Lady. As you've learned, I'm a sucker for a good A'capella group.... so enjoy this clever arrangement of... lots of things.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday's Fabulous Five

Dude.... I know it's a little late. But I still have a half hour of Fridayness left!

1- Dustin's home and he took the kids to the park in their snowclothes. What a good dad my kids have. Rohan launched off of the slide that was covered in snow. He thought it was awesome.
2- We had a really good time at Dustin's company party that he DID NOT want to go to at all. I wanted a free meal and a night out with just D and I so I forced him and we had fun... plus we got two gift cards (I don't know how much they are though but, hey... free gift cards- BONUS!, even if it is the evil Wal-Mart!)
3- I'm all done with all the pretzel orders I have!!! (unless of course I get another one...)
4- I hated my haircut, but now I like it.
5- In two days I will be done with our choir Christmas program and I can stop with the tickle of worry in the back of my brain. (and my little brother is singing in our program and I can't wait to hear him cuz he's awesome!!!)

Love you all! Hope all is merry and bright and FABULOUS in your world today... and if it's not, make it so. Life is 99% attitude, after all!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yeah, Write....

Once upon a time, I had a dream of creating my own creative writing meme where all my bloggy friends would play and we would all chuckle or sigh at the silly or poignant stories that we would create. It was going to be really fun!!! And then no one played.... except Ginny. (Thanks, Ginny, for the super-duper validation!)

I figured maybe not everyone likes creative writing like I do. But, I'll be honest, it's made me a little gun-shy and it froze me in my writing tracks for a while. Well, the spring thaw is here (in December, mind you) and I want to WRITE!!! So, I'm going to write by myself. If anyone wants an exercise in creative writing, feel free to play along. I've decided that Thursdays are still going to be a fun writing day for me. This will just be a little exercize... a brain-gym if you will. Who knows... I might just get some new stories going that I might actually want to continue.

SOOOO... I need your help, please. I would like random writing prompts in my comment box on Thursdays. It could be anything. A sentence or a fragment of a sentence or a theme, or a situation that's funny, sad, cool, weird, etc. Then I'll use someone's prompt for the next Thursday's post.

Using a random phrase like that created the lime kilns story which was very fun for me to write. I really liked writing that way- forced to use a word or a phrase. It was challenging and made me take interesting directions.

I hesitate to do this because I feel like I'm trying to toot my horn... but please know that I just want to write, and I need story-writing workout session. Hence the brain gym. If I get no comments, I have a website that I found for writing prompts, but I'd rather have fun using yours if you feel inclined to give them.

So, please leave me a topic or a phrase in my comment box and I'll randomly pick one to write on next Thursday...


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The True Meaning

Click here for one of the loveliest versions of the true meaning of Christmas I've had the privledge of encountering.

(I happen to have insider information and know that you can order prints of this beautiful image. Leave a comment on the blog or email me for contact info... clancyinidaho{at}live{dot}com.)

From The Jar... #27

Last night (Tuesday night) we had a grand time at my parents house helping them decorate their tree. It was lovely and the kids were in heaven. No wait, it was I who was in heaven. OK, we were all in heaven... my celestial experience was listening to my kids' exuberant exclamations as they pulled out each of my mom's fun ornaments. (and she has ALOT of them!) I would hear, from the other room, Rohan saying "Wuk, MAC! Wuk at dis widdle house!!!" and then Ella, "OHHHH, Grandma! I LOVE this one!! It's so pretty!" Tender feelings exuded from my weary-of-being-a-single-mom-on-the-weekdays heart. I really do love my kids. Even if I say the words "BE NICE, PLEASE" eight-hundred and fifty-two-thousand times per day. Do you think if I recorded myself saying that and played it subliminally in their sleep that they actually would be nice to eachother? Hmm...

And the Jar says...

Do you remember any special feelings you had as a child? Fears, fantasies, etc.

Uhhh.... well, let's see. I wouldn't call fears "special", but I remember I was terrified of rats. I had never even seen one, but I had dreams about them all the time. A recurring dream, in fact....

I was trapped among a sea of rats on a couch on a random porch and I knew if I got down I would get rabies from one of them rubbing their noses on me. Yes, in my dream, you contracted rabies from a rat's Eskimo kiss. They all left me alone, except the king rat spotted me and came running toward me. He had an extra long nose with a ball on the end of it... like the top of a clown hat.
Ya. Like that. Anyway, he zeroed in on me and ran up and rubbed his rabies transmitter of a nose on my leg. I always woke up screaming from that dream. I was only about 5 years old. There was also an alley up a block from us where someone (probably my evil older brother or sister) told me the rats lived. They scratched up a telephone pole in that alley and lived in a scary garage. I wouldn't go into that alley. Ever. I would run past the opening of it when I had to walk that way.

I was also terrified of the husks that locusts would leave on the trees around my Grandma's house in Houston. They have little grippy things on their legs and my [evil] brother and sister would put them all over their shirts and chase me and throw them at me. I'm pretty sure I'm still scarred from it. ;)

Fantasies as a child... hmmm. Any room I walked into I would imagine myself standing on the wall, parallel with the floor and jumping off of the wall and doing handsprings over and over until I could go through the window on the opposite wall feet first. I still do this in rooms to this day, but not every room and just when I get bored.

I also remember babysitting kids as a pre-teen (12 or so) and pretending they were mine and that my husband would be gone somewhere and I would kiss him when he walked in the door upon his return and my life would be like a scene from Leave It to Beaver.

I remember putting on concerts for my little friends when I was about 5 or 6. I would stand on the stage and they would request songs and I'd sing them. I liked to pretend that I was a real singer on a real stage, and I was famous, and pretty, and grown up.

I remember being Red Sonja with my big sword (stick) when we were camping. I would swing it with vigor and kill all the enemies (little dead sticks on dead, beetle-killed pine trees). That was a fantasy I shared with my siblings.

I remember imagining if I died and wondering if people would really miss me. I wondered what they would say at my funeral. I wondered if I could watch from heaven and see their tears and feel important and loved.

I remember very special feelings when I would turn off all the lights, turn on my family's definitive Christmas CD, The Gift, and listen while I stared at the magic of our Christmas tree. And if the tree was in a certain spot, I would sit by the heater while I basked in the warm glow. I remember thinking that life couldn't get any better.

But, it has.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tue Pose a Question

Just one question...

Would anyone like to be a citizen if I started my own, new country? Today, I learned how.

(LOL! The things you find on the internet when you're avoiding your possible-destiny)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Manic Monday: Candle

Look what I learned whilst trying to come up with something interesting to say regarding candles. Wikipedia is always such a brainiac showoff...

A candle manufacturer is traditionally known as a chandler

Didn't know that before today. And...

candle Pictures, Images and Photos
The burning of the [wax] takes place in several distinct regions (as evidenced by the various colors that can be seen within the candle's flame). Within the bluer regions, hydrogen is being separated from the fuel and burned to form water vapor. The brighter, yellower part of the flame is the remaining carbon being oxidized to form carbon dioxide.

Didn't know that either. That whole water vapor, hydrogen and carbon dioxide with the corresponding colors of the flame... I thought it was rather interesting. Technical, but interesting nonetheless.

Yes, it's true. I'm desperate for a candle topic. I've been drawing blanks all day. So, for fun, and for an aggressive and intentional deviation from the word candle, let's see what other random facts we can learn on Wikipedia!

Did you know that there are over three hundred distinct breeds of goats? Ya. Me neither.

Did you know that, in Australia, there is a group called:
The Corps of Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RAEME; pronounced Raymee). Saint Eligius is recognized as the spiritual guide and mentor of RAEME personnel. Saint Eligius is universally known as a protector of tradesmen and craftsmen.

Huh. Didn't know that either. Seems like a pretty non-engineerish sentiment to me, but what do I know!? (not as much as Wikipedia, to be sure!)

And how about this for getting rid of a wart?
Duct Tape Occlusion Therapy (DTOT) involves placing a piece of duct tape over [a] wart for six days, followed by soaking the area in water and scraping it with a pumice stone or emery board. There is conflicting evidence as to whether or not DTOT is an effective wart therapy.

And speaking of Duct tape...
With a standard width of 178 inches (48 mm), duct tape was originally developed during World War II in 1942 as a water resistant sealing tape for ammunition.

And for some Christmas cheer...
Mistletoe is a poisonous plant that causes acute gastrointestinal problems including stomach pain, and diarrhea along with low pulse.

So, for the love of cheese whiz, kiss under the mistletoe, but please refrain from eating it!

You know, that one got me curious. If you haven't already clicked on the link above...
According to a custom of Christmas cheer, any two people who meet under a hanging of mistletoe are obliged to kiss. The custom is Scandinavian in origin. It was the plant of peace in Scandinavian antiquity. If enemies met by chance beneath it in a forest, they laid down their arms and maintained a truce until the next day. This ancient Scandinavian custom led to the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe.

Wikipedia is just like one big train of thought for me.... here's my last one:
Kissing is a complex behavior that requires significant muscular coordination. A total of thirty-four facial muscles and 112 postural muscles are used during a kiss.

How about that? If you've ever kissed someone, let me be the first to say, "Congratulations on your significant muscular coordination!" ;)

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Why is it when kids see Styrofoam, they feel the need to kick it or step on it, or stab it with a screwdriver until it is utterly destroyed and there are little white static-electrified messes all over the place that jump on your skin as you walk by? Or is that just my kids?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday's Fabulous Five

Wow. Friday already? It's been a busy week. Here's a rundown for the record. (my record)
Monday: Donated plasma, folded laundry and made a tiny dent in my enormous pile, packed stuff, drove (2 hours) to Dustin's family's house (just me and the kids and they were angels), practiced a song for his grandma's funeral the next day.
Tuesday: Woke up... showered, etc., ironed almost every piece of clothing I packed, got dressed, went and practiced song in the chapel, went to car and finished putting on makeup, went to funeral, sang at funeral, wished I knew Dustin's grandma in her youth, went to graveside, cried, froze our tails off, went to luncheon, at a huge pile of ham in the hope of boosting my blood protein count, went to MIL's, chilled with family, packed up, drove home (just me and kids again and they were even more angelic), did homework with kids, went to bed.
Wednesday: Kids to school, attempted to donate plasma, failed to donate plasma due to low FREAKIN' protein... AGAIN, made Caramel Pecan Bars, picked up kids, battled with Mac about doing homework, pulled my hair out, ate dinner at my mom's house, watched Mac and Ella be absolutely adorable on stage at their school not-so-Christmasy-Christmas program, had ice cream cones at home with my mom and dad (who came to the program too), talked about the closet framing and the elecrical in a room in my basement with my mom and dad.
Thursday: Woke up to the phone ringing, answered it, talked to a doctor in Texas who orders from me (pretzels, etc) every year at Christmas, figured out that I didn't get his email that he sent the week before requesting an order, figured out that he wants it in hand by Tuesday in TEXAS!, freaked out, dropped Rohan off at his best buddies' (thanks again, Maria!), went to store, came home, roasted almonds, chopped pecans and almonds, dipped up a storm, mom helped, listened to Christmas music, picked up kids from school, packaged stuff, ran to Parcel Express to pack up boxes, got VERY annoyed with Parcel Express employee, left P.E. (more on this later!) and went to UPS Customer counter instead, loved their customer service AND their prices, shipped order to Texas, went out and ate with kiddles (no way I'm cooking after a day like that!), went home, did spelling words happily with Mac and Ella, fell asleep with kids, woke up, read blogs, went to bed.
Friday: Woke up, kids to school, payed bills, blogged about week rundown and......


1- Do I even need to write this one? My sweet Dustin is coming home today and I miss him ever so much.
2- My mom is awesome.
3- My angelic kids on the drive to and from D's parents house.
4- Portable DVD players that help my kids be angelic while I'm driving by myself on possibly-icy roads.
5- UPS Customer counter, UPS Blue (2 Day Air) and a doctor who doesn't mind paying for it!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

From The Jar... #26

Tell about handed-down talents, foods, dolls, willow whistles, pottery, quilting, whittling, etc.

Is that weird or is it just me? Ah well, at least it's easy!

Handed-down talents... that's easy. Singing. I said a few posts ago that we are a singing family, on my mom's side that is. All of my mom's sisters sing, as well as her lone brother. Her parents sing as well. My sisters and brothers sing too. It's just a big singing party when we're all together!

Another talent that I suppose has been handed down is sewing. My grandma (mom's side again) was an amazing seamstress. She had a real passion for it too. She could die happy in a fabric store. I can see her small fingers with her long pretty nails touching each bolt she passed and sliding the fabric between her fingers. She loves fabric and the dream of the endless possibilities that could come of it.

I don't claim to be the seamstress she was, but I really enjoy sewing and I do a fair job of it. Here are a few examples of my "work".

Easter 2004, I made both of their outfits.

Halloween 2005, I made Mac and Ella's costumes, but not Rohan's.

Halloween, 2007- Ella, the "Ice Princess".

Halloween 2007- Didn't make the shirt or the pants, just the "slashes with blood" showing and sewed the fur onto the Werewolf's legs.

Easter 2005, I made Ella's dress... did not make Mac's clothes. Don't you just love her cute little face in that last pic? lol!

I've made several costumes for opera's that I've been in, including my own costume in Die Fledermaus. I was 6 months pregnant with Rohan at the time and my body seemed to change almost daily, so I waited until the last minute to make my costume. It turned out lovely, baby belly and all!

We have some recipes in our family that are "handed down". I hope that's what the jar means when it says "food" cuz we don't have a sacred grilled cheese sandwich with the face of Mary on it that has been passed down for three generations, or any other handed-down food item, for that matter. Recipes...right!... back on track, kids. Cornbread dressing at Thanksgiving... YUM! Wacky cake. Hootnanny pancakes. Pecan pie. Among others that I am sure I can't think of right now.

As for dolls, willow whistles, pottery, quilting, and whittling... can you say random? Dolls, pottery and quilting I can see... not in my family, but I can feature it. But willow whistles and whittling? I guffaw! (insert boisterous belly laugh here) And this is where you'll forgive me if you have a sacred heirloom willow whistle that your great-great-grandfather made, or a precious whittled teacup from your pioneer ancestor that's been handed down through the ages.... I am just laughing at the randomness of the question! And no, I don't have any willow whistles or mad, generational whittling skills. LOL!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Manic Monday: Light

This is what we did tonight.... it's always *my job to put the lights on. That's just because I'm a picky sunuva and I can't have the wires strung all over the place or the tree looks like a spiderweb.

*self-appointed position because Dustin likes to think he's a spider

Isn't it lovely? Seven strands of rainbow wonderfulness. And notice the tree-skirt that I made last year? Yes, I'm asking for praise and recognition. Shameless...

In my quest for light subject matter, I came across the following quote. It doesn't say light in it, but it feels like light to me. I like to think of myself as trying to live my life like this, for the most part:

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.
~Anthony J. D'Angelo

And this has nothing, whatsoever, to do with light, but here it is anyway. My first apple pie. My vent holes got a little... ok... a lot retarded because I forgot the butter and had to shove it into the pie after it had already been baking for five or ten minutes. :)
Say 'yes' to randomness!
Be sure to visit Mo for more Manic Monday fun!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday's Fabulous Five

1- Dustin
2- Going out to dinner with some of our best friends and laughing 'til we can't breathe.
3- Singing
4- Watching Rohan play a video game that is not on a Wii, but he still moves his little body like a crazy man while he's playing cuz that's what he's learned from the Wii.... and then laughing til it hurts cuz he looks so cute.
5- The amazing way that certain people in my life have of making me feel like I am laying in the sunshine on the sun-warmed cement. Those kind of people whom you crave their company and then when you get it you feel better... like you've filled some hole that was empty. Weird phenomenon, but I love it! :)

Happy 250th Post to "A Day in the Life of Clancy"

I just had to commemorate this momentous occasion with a little love letter to my Blog.

Dear Blog,
How well you've served me! Ferreting out my hidden motives, and teaching me to look inside of myself, you've allowed me to remember that I like to create. 250 posts of random thoughts that I would've forgotten had you not been here to listen. I sit here this night with a burned hand and wonder how I should tell you about it. Shall I be funny, or shall I be dramatic? If I don't write it, no one will know it happened. At least not a hundred years from now.

And so, Blog, you are my gift to myself. You are my memory. Soon you will pour out your cyber-treasure onto paper and become a book. And I care not if another soul ever reads it because I will. I promise.

Guilt likes to rear it's ugly little head now and then. Guilt loves to tell me that I should tell you more about my kids and my daily life and document every event, birthday, holiday and parking ticket. But I am ultimately selfish and I want to incessantly talk about me! I want to tell you all about all the weird meanderings of my mind. I want to tell you my dreams. I want to tell the world, through your pages, who I am and what my life is. I want to write in code when I am hurt so no one need know the why and how, but you and me. I want to send messages of love and hope and joy into moments that I don't even know exist yet, because they haven't been read yet by the one who gleans the joy.

When your life started, I had no idea what we would become. And I think I still have no idea of the evolution of your creation. We are going big, Blog. We're going to be something. You are special, and that's why you're here. Because I love you.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

From The Jar... #25

I've been a slacker on my jar posts lately.

Tell the words of a song from your childhood and the memories it brings.

So many songs, so little time...

We were a singing family. Well, actually, we still are a singing family. I grew up with my mom teaching us all kinds of songs that we would all sing together. We sang a lot on road trips, mostly rounds. A favorite round that we sang was called Man's Life's a Vapor. The words went like this:

Man's life's a vapor, full of woes.
When he cuts a caper, down he goes.
Downy, downy, downy, downy down he goes.

It has a really fun tune and makes some really nice harmonies when sung in a round, but as a kid, I always thought this was the weirdest song. That might have something to do with how I had the words wrong til I was who knows how old... high school, maybe? Here's the words that my child-mind created:

Man's lives of aper, full of wolves.
When he cuts the caper, down he goes.
Downy, downy, downy, downy down he goes.

Ya. I had no idea what an aper was, nor any clue why this guy's life was full of wolves. I didn't know what a caper was either. I pictured it to be some sort of string that this guy cut with big scissors. And when he cut this "caper string" he fell and went down this big, clear tube.... downy, downy, downy down he goes... down the tube. The guy had a little hat and a pencil-thin mustache and a three-piece, pin-striped suit. I always thought of him like a cross between the cartoon Boris Bandenov from the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, the evil and inept magician, Professor Hinkle, on the 1960's animated Frosty the Snowman and the Pink Panther. Sometimes his hat came off when he went downy, downy, down...

Weird, huh? So, that's the memories that that song bring back. Wolves, a big, clear tube, and a detective looking guy.

I just now Googled it to see if, by some chance, they would have the words to this song online. (I wanted to make sure I had the REAL words right!) I found them... apparently, this song is written from a scripture in Proverbs. This is fascinating to me that I've known this song practically my whole life and I've never known what the heck it was from. I just thought it was weird.

On a sweeter and less random note... another song from my childhood that I absolutely love and still sing to my own children is called "Old Dog Tray". This is another that we grew up singing. This one we just sang in a lovely two-part harmony. Maybe I'll get my mom to sing it with me and I'll record it for ya'll. Here are the words.

The morn of life is past,
And evening comes at last;
It brings me a dream of a once happy day,
Of merry forms I’ve seen
Upon the village green,
Sporting with my old dog Tray.

Old dog Tray’s ever faithful,
Grief cannot drive him away,
He’s gentle, he is kind;
I’ll never, never find
A better friend than old dog Tray.

This song was written by Stephen Foster back in 1853. It evokes tender feelings of nostalgia and a connection to my ancestors in the deep south. I always think of my grandmother who was born and raised in Mississippi when we sing this song.

I love that my mom and dad instilled in their children a love of music and singing. While I don't sing with my kids in the car as much as I'd like, I do sing them to sleep almost every night and I hope that is something they treasure into adulthood.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tue Pose a Question

I was listening to a song the other day... World On Fire by Sarah McLachlan. There is a part of the song that says:
The more we take the less we become
The fortune of one man means less for some

I wondered as I listened to this song if people agree with that? Do you think that the fortune of one man mean less for some?

Answering that question for myself... I don't agree. I don't think that there are limits on the amount of "abundance" in the universe. I don't believe that someone's "fortune" tips some universal scale that means someone else has less. I read a book called Hidden Treasures that beautifully explains what I'm poorly conveying.

I might agree with the first part that says, "The more we take, the less we become". That can be true if we take without giving back.

Just a random thought...

So, what do you think?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Manic Monday: Shopping

Excuse me, would you care for some Black Friday? Yes, thank you!

I love shopping on this crazy day. I had never done it until a couple of years ago when I wanted to go see what all the fuss was about. Was it really as crazy as people said? Yes, yes it was. And yes, yes I loved it!

I laughed so hard the first time I went out. I pulled into the Wal-Mart parking lot at 4:30am and laughed my head off! The usually-full parking lot was COMPLETELY full and I couldn't stop the laughter. It was hilarious to me.

Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same as I- that it's just funny and entertaining and if they happen to get a good deal it's an extra added bonus. I just heard yesterday about a temporary Wal-Mart employee who was trampled to death in their "doorbuster" sale. This tragedy makes me sick. As I've thought about it since yesterday, I have felt a range of emotions including guilt that I went out and participated in this purchase-fest. But I have let go of that because I realize that there is a safe and courteous way to participate in Black Friday, and I am grateful to live in a place where people are friendly in their maniacal-shopping-at-4am insanity. Almost everyone I came across on this shopping-frenzy was friendly as we grinned at each other sheepishly with sleep-deprived, bleary-eyed, left-over makeup smiles. We're idiots and we knew it. And we were friends, comrades in idiocy.

So, yes, I participate in Black Friday shopping. I have fun doing it. It's pure entertainment for me. I don't care that much about the "deals". What I enjoy is the pursuit of those deals and spending time with my mom, who goes out with me into the madness.