Monday, November 29, 2010

Shameless ...

i have never been one to be a groupie of any group/person/organization/idea. i have typically stood on the outskirts of something and just watched...enjoying the activity but without any attention drawn to me. You could always find me on the edge...smiling and watching...thoroughly enjoying everything going on but not ready or willing to jump up and join in.

But these days, i wonder: why not? Why not do something totally outside my comfort zone? Why not join in the laughter and fun? Why not make a fool of myself for something i totally enjoy? Why not?

So friends, i have to admit...

i am a Chaser.
i am a shameless Chaser. (oh sheesh..i am already blushing and trying to delete those last words...see what i mean?)

Here is the story. There is an a Capella group called Straight No Chaser. 10 men who went to Indiana University have now become a touring group. They found publicity with a YouTube video of them singing a spoof on the 12 Days of Christmas and Atlantic Records picked them up...and is slinging them all over the country...literally.

i heard about the video and then went to my first concert early in the Spring 2010 (in a scary theater in Landsdowne, Pa). Since then i have seen them in Reading, in Hershey and will see them again in Reading on New Year's Eve.

Their fans are called Chasers and i think i have officially become one!

10 men (none of them ugly, if you know what i mean) who have amazing voices, do not take themselves too seriously and have arrangements (done mostly by one of the members) that are breathtaking. They practice an art....but in a way that is fresh and new. This is not just a standard a Capella group...oh no...there is dancing. Yes ladies...dancing. Not in a lewd way..but fun..creative..totally sexy without offending anyone.

So i would like to say

Hi, my name is laura and i am a Chaser.

Check out Straight No Chaser....who knows, you might be a chaser too:

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Being Thankful all the time

Recently i have been challenged to count my blessings all the time. There is also a community of bloggers who do this, apparently, and you actually count the blessings, the things that you are grateful for. i would imagine that it fosters a heart of thankfulness and gratitude and that even through difficult circumstances, you are able to see how blessed you are.

So i need to research this a bit more, but think it is a healthy excersise which will, hopefully, become a lifestyle.
Today is a bit of a down kind of day. Not in emotion but in activity. i am still in my pj's and it is almost noon! (shock and horror. i know . I KNOW!) But it sure feels nice to just have a quiet day. Baby, dog, cat are all sleeping. House is finally getting warm (it was cold last night) and i feel all cozy and homey. i was going to start to decorate for Christmas, but honestly, i love my Fall decorations..those colours are so grand and warm and....and i might tackle that on Monday! Since i have problems with Monday anyway, might as well do something really nice, right? Right

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

For the past two days, i have been working at my folks' house getting ready for our Thanksgiving meal. Made pies yesterday and today did some of the dishes that could be premade and then just reheated. Tomorrow, of course, is the main even and we have a jammed packed day. Should be tons of fun.

In all of this work, i have paused to give thanks many times. Thanks that i am close to family who love to be together. Thanks that we have the means to have this kind of food. Thanks that i am able to do the work, alongside my mother and sisters. And that is the tip of the iceberg. Yes, it has been a really rough past two months and may be worse in months to come. But...BUT in all things i want to give thanks.

And i am thankful for friends (like you!) who encourage me and help me to give thanks for everything.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Just stuff....

This dog we got is incredible. Someone somewhere had to have worked with her. she is completely housebroken, is loving but obeys commands, walks on the lead like a trooper and is very loyal.

she does not mind at all when the baby steps on her and thinks the cats are amusing. i have yet to hear her bark at home (we heard her once in the pound as we were walking away...that was kind sad). she does have some stray tendencies with food but i think over time, she will see that she is always fed and that will lessen (but she listens/obeys when we correct her behavior).

she weighs 60 lbs and thinks she is a lap dog.

No seriously, she does. Just a big ago, i was sitting on the floor and she attempted to climb into my lap...of course i encouraged her to see if it would work, but alas, it did not, mostly because i was being squished and could not stop laughing.
Speaking of not being able to stop laughing, my 18 yr old brother has the game Call of Duty. He is getting better at it and i said i wanted to try. Please realize that i cannot even play Mario without dying off and screaming when i miss a jump or when those things come at me. It is rather hilarious.

So last night i said i would play with him. i chose my weapon and we started...we were supposed to shoot one another (nothing says family love like hunting each other down). However, i am horrible at this and ended up making my guy go around in circles backwards, shooting the dirt....mostly because i cannot control the thing properly and mostly because i was laughing so hard because i couldn't control the thing and mostly because it was hilarious. i do not think i should join any armed forces...though i am good with weapons in real life....(mostly).

Thanksgiving is in two days.
The weather outside is frightfully dull. Either sun or rain, please. This murky stuff is kinda gross.
i am wearing a Brian Dawkins #20 Eagles Jersey today. i have said, though i really am not a fan of tattoos, that should i ever get his autograph, it will be tattooed on my body.

Is that taking fandom a bit too far? No? ok...i didn't think so either (even though he now plays for the Broncos....that move broke my heart and i am still not over it..not even kidding..i cried....)
i mean have you
1)seen the man play? Safety...flying tackles..insane blocking...hard hitting....plays with intense passion...loved Philadelphia fans and we love him still
2) seen the man's muscles? i will stop right there lest i cross a fine line between admiration for the human body vs. pure lust.

Happy Thanksgiving to me! :grin:

Monday, November 22, 2010


Ok Monday, here is the deal. You and i are not friends and it is unlikely that we will ever be friends. However, since i am human and created just a little lower than angels...guess what? i win. i win because i am going to see you as a challenge...a small obstacle to overcome. i am not going to give in to your dark depressing thoughts and feelings. Yes, the weekends are always nice, mostly because the sweet little one is here and on Monday she is not. And yes, since being laid off, i feel mostly an empty sense of "what now?" because i really should be getting up for work, not lying in bed fighting you.

But guess what? i win. Always. You had your month of dark Mondays. Fun, wasn't it? But even though it was tough to get going today and even though i had to overcome alllll of what i just wrote, i did it.

So honestly? though you throw your best stuff at me, and you always do, i win. The house is clean, i am about to take the dog for a nice long walk and then gonna plan for Thanksgiving. See? All good and positive things.

"Greater is He that is in me, then Mondays"
(very, very loosely translated.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It is gonna be ok

Just a few minutes ago, i shut off the heater and locked the doors and on my way upstairs, with Celtic Women music softly wafting from my sitting room, i realized: It is gonna be ok.

i checked on the baby, she was soundly sleeping--put her into her sleeping bag and closed the door a bit and heard her sigh. i stood in the doorway for a minute,remembering bed time when my sister (mother of the baby) and i were playing with her earlier in the evening...she was surrounded by her books and softly "reading" to herself (she is 15 months old) and then her soft kisses to Auntie just before her Momma put her to bed and i realized: It is gonna be ok.

And it is very possible that i will lose the house and we will have to find another place to live, or that a miracle could happen and we will be here for a while longer and even in that i realized: It is gonna be ok.

And now i am in my bedroom, about to turn in for the night, the house is still and cooling (making my bed a welcome cocoon), and i feel a deep peace that although the things that have been dragging me into depression are still factors in my life and i still do not have a job and there is still quite a bit of stress attached to things now i realized and realize and hope to continue to realize: It is gonna be ok.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth...Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid....John 14:27

And now for something a bit lighter

Yesterday's post still weighs heavily on my heart and mind and i believe it will for a long time or until i figure out what to do with it.

But something that lights the soul is taking my sweet niece for a walk in the park, stomping through leaves and finding treasures. she is 15 months old and everything is a wonder. The huge yellow maple leaf that we found made her eyes light up and she said, "ohhhhhh"

Yes little one, OH indeed. Wonderment and inspiration are all around us, if we take the time to look.

Our little park has a plethera of trees and so the leaves get all mixed up. Some tiny Japanese maple, bright red are next to huge yellow maples and if you look...there is an oak leaf amongst them, all brown and crisp. The colors are mixed and gorgeous and it does make one say OHHHHH.

We brough a small boquet of fallen leaves home for her Momma...will take them with us when we pick her up from work.

What made your eyes light up and made you say Ohhh...or Wow...??? Just look is there.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Disturbing Simulation

This past Sunday my church gave a simulation that "took" you to different countries around the world. It was of course focusing on the missionaries that the church supports and the regions where these folks work.

It was very disturbing and upsetting to me.

The church and the folks who were the actors and who did decorations and such did a fantastic first class job. Seriously. i was impressed. They way they helped the hundreds who were there get through and find seating etc was also great, they stayed in character but were helpful if someone had a question or concern. The way it was portrayed, it truly "messed with" your sensibilities. i loved it.

That was not the disturbing part.

And then from different regions, workers shared some stories of how they are not only helping folks find a better way of living and also how they have become accustomed to their new home, but also how people are beginning a relationship with God and how, even in the midst of persecution, those people are thriving. i loved that too. Brought tears to my eyes because i truly love it when any human can better their life, through education, jobs, etc but also because i treasure my relationship with God and find it amazing that He does too. And when others find that is rather humbling and awe inspiring.

That also was not the disturbing part.

And because they were doing different parts of the world, they had men and women in Muslim garb and they did the call to prayer and we sat as if we were in a mosque, which was not my first time experiencing that and i was able to tell my sister some of the differences if we were in a real Mosque. They also included in some of their speech anti-American talk, which i realize is not the lifestyle of every Muslim but to say it doesn't happen is poppycock. And they had four women in full burqas, which i truly believe are garments from the pit of hell. Women were not created in the image of an Almighty God to be hidden away in some shapeless garment, faces hidden. We were given curves and beauty for a reason. And it hurts me, deep inside, to see them. i can understand head coverings way more than full burqas. (some of that has to do with living close to large Mennonite and Amish communities all my life).

Even that was not the disturbing part.

The disturbing part came when a woman with three other women simulated a Madame selling her girls in Eastern Europe. And when she said that she had a young virgin that she would sell special to the man who had AIDS because we all knew that sex with a virgin would cure him. The girl was eight years old.

i know it was a simulation. Prostitution did not take place at my church. Never. However, i also know that there are parts of Africa and Eastern Europe and some gyspie tribes that truly believe this. And it is so devastating...more so to the girls who are sold then me, i assure you. But it cut me to the quick. And i cannot forget it. And it hurts. And i do not know what to do to stop child trafficking. Such a messy business. So dirty. So sordid. Girls being turned into women before they should be..oh and what kind of women, eh?

i have an odd view on prostitution perhaps. Though i do not agree with it and let me catch any man of mine visiting one...i assure you, he would never again (and i might go to jail!) and let me tell you, he would be walking with a limp and a bit lighter, if you know what i mean; when adults make adult choices for themselves, it is on them. They are responsible for their own actions. They are accountable and they will reap the consequences whether good or bad. i would encourage, even plead for them to choose a better way of life, but adults are adults.

However, when a child is forced to do an adult action, particularly an adult sexual action, i am both terribly angry and on the verge of being sick. Little girls who wish to be pretty and clean and who want to be mommas or a teacher or have a different career. They who dream of a kind husband, of lighter, of a good life...and i am sorry, but all little girls have these dreams. Some are forced at a very, very young age to kill these dreams but they were there at one point. When that is stripped from them and all they know is that their body is used by grown men and women for painful acts and that if they act lewd and sexy they will be paid more, it literally kills me inside. (and i am only addressing girls....i cannot even talk about what is done to little boys...seriously cannot go there right now).

i am struggling with this because i am typically a "let's do something about this" kind of woman, but this stops me dead and i feel confused and angry and totally overwhelmed that anything i do or say can help. i would rush to any country to help save some of these children, but fear that i would be useless.

But sometimes God calls us to step out of our little comfort zones and get messy and dirty in order to present the opportunity for people to know who He is and know His love and mercy. Sometimes He makes us sick about something because He wants us to get off our butts and do something about it, even though He knows it will hurt our emotions and sensibilities.

Recent circumstances aside, and they are nothing compared to what most of the world goes through, i have had an awesome life. i have a Father who loves me deeply and completely but would cut off his hand if he ever even attempted to hurt one of his kids or wife. i know that many men in this country do not have that self control, and i realize how blessed i have been to have such parents. i have a great family, a house, food, i am warm and clean and have clothes and shoes bursting from my closets. i go to concerts and am free to do just about anything i want, and it is a good life. i am humbled and grateful for this life. i cherish it.

But if i have been challenged to do something more, to reach out beyond my life and help others who have such a need i cannot even wrap my mind around it, but do nothing....

..then that is the most disturbing thing of all.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Full heart equals skimpy blog post

i am working, i think, on a blog post that is rather dear to me about an something i expeienced this past Sunday. Through all of my own moanings of yesterday, this experience remains deep in me and i am not sure i have the words to do it justice. But i might try.

Also this morning i came accross a blog that has challenged me in my writing and in my daily living. That was a nice, nice surpise.

And last night, i stumbled upon this blog:
which kept me up until the wee hours. Mostly laughing. She is quite a writer and a woman and the things she sometimes says just struck me as funny. That was an added delight and a nice way to end a not-so-good-mostly-terrible-day.

Today is rainy and dark and dismal, yet i have found a number of blessings of the day and that leads to hope and hope leads to keep going which keeps me out of bed and smiling. The situation has not changed much, but i am finding better ways to get through this dark time.

oh and we are eating Mexican food for supper...that alone can brighten anyone's day, right? (well hopefully it will stay tasting like Mexican after i am done with apologies to the Mexican people and cooks.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday, you used to be my friend

i started this day in a bit of excitement. Last evening, my Mom and i went over the Thanksgiving menu and what we were going to do during the day and it was fresh in my mind. i could not wait to start making my lists and plan my grocery list. We have not done Thanksgiving at home in more than 20 years but this year my cousin is battling cancer and does not feel that she can host it as she normally does. So very sad for many reasons, though her prognosis seems to be promising. Still....what she has to endure is great and looming and scary for her. So we are making other plans and it seems a bit odd...but yet will be fun because family will be together.

But i first had to call the unemployment office to settle some question they had. And that call almost shattered me. It was so bad, for me,that i went back to bed. i do NOT want that dark depression to surround me...i will NOT give into it..and after a nice long nap, i do truly feel better. i guess i find that since being unemployed, my reaction to stressful situations is just really poor. i shut down. blech.

So...though the bills are looming and in reality, i might lose my house, i need to continue to focus on positive keep moving...keep applying for jobs and keep real real real close to my Heavenly Father who holds all things in His very capable hands.

i have not gotten back to the joyful attitude of first thing...before the call...but i am hoping that tomorrow will bring good things and that i will be a bit stronger to face the bumps in the road.

Also...Monday Night Football (gonna watch it with my 18 yr old brother) will help.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Can't Believe It!

Most of the time, little things make me very happy.

Today something little...or not so....really made my day.

Not far from my house used to be the most unusual Antique shop you have ever seen. It basically was an old barn and outbuildings where the owners decorated in "rooms" inside. For instance, they had a Coke "room" which was just an area where Coke memorabilia was sold and some other red and white items. It was quite charming and a little overwhelming as they had so. much. stuff.

They decided last year that they wanted to retire and so held eight different auctions to help get rid of a lot of their things. Then the shop closed.

I was rather bummed about it because they had some of the most unusual things and from all different time periods and no matter how you decorate your house, you could find something to enhance it. i have a mostly Victorian house with French and WWII influence (i know, i know..odd but it works) and found some lovely things there that i truly treasure. Pink WWII glass tea set? Adorable and i LOVE serving things on it.

Anyway, today, i was on that road that goes by and i felt a bit nostalgic....and to my delight and surprise, IT WAS OPEN! WHAT???? i kid you not. Open O P E N!

So i stopped in (had my 14 month old niece with me) and went inside. It is completely different but i did see some of the old treasures inside. i didn't care...IT IS OPEN!

After walking through, i talked to the owner and told him how glad i was that they had re opened and he said, " Well you know we retired? (i did) We enjoyed it for a bit but realized that we really missed being in the business so now we are doing it as a hobby and not a business."

Totally made my day. And now i can stop by, look around think of where some things might and Voila!

Happy Saturday to me! (oh, and you too!)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Baby, it's cold inside

i think this winter might be a challenge to keep my home warm. In someone's not so infinite wisdom, the heating system was changed from radiator to forced air. Now it is a good selling point, because all of the duct work was done long ago and it would be easy to have Central Air installed....however, for heating, it is the worst.

Radiator heat heats does not just warm the air, but actual objects in the room, including the air. Forced air just blows around warm air and the minute it shuts off, the room is freezing cold.

So for that reason, for the past six years, i have used a very large kerosene heater as my main source of heat and then supplemented with electric heaters as needed. It works. Yes, it is a pain sometimes, but no more than those who have to haul wood and keep fires going. And yes it it stinky sometimes but that is rare, to be honest. What it does provide is steady warmth that radiates into objects, thus causing the house to feel cozy. i keep it in the dining room, which is in the middle of my home and it makes the second floor (where we spend most of the time in the winter) quite nice.

The price, however, this year went up about 30 cents and so getting kerosene is a bit pricey....and being without a job as of now, it is a bit worrisome as to how to keep the fires going, so to speak. But i have faith and trust and hope (ohh blessed hope) that it is going to be ok and though we might have to have some cold days to conserve or not heat the house at night (when the baby is not here), i think we can manage.

i mean, one Christmas i slept in my parent's shed because everyone in the house had the stomach flu and i was determined that i was NOT going to get it....and i didn't....i also did not get sick from sleeping in the shed, it was quite nice, to be honest! LOL

But then i am crazy like that.

ps. the dog is doing quite well...and she is fun to be around. Today the baby all but laid on her giving her kisses and the dog just laid , thumping her tail. She has yet to bark but is very alert to noises outside, especially those close to the front door....So far, so good.

Monday, November 8, 2010

We got a dog!

i think that i have posted the multiple times when either my house or my car has been vadalized and/or broken into and/or stolen. House twice, car three times. Last week, someone broke into an empty house on the block. They did no damage and the police came right away, but the house next to mine is also empty and i do not want a third break in.

We found her on Wednesday and got her on Saturday!

i will post more about her later, but we are experienceing some attitude from some neighbors which is very unpleasant and really upsets me. These are good neighbors who have been good friends and yet they do not seem to understand that two single women plus a baby living together might want a little more protection. That baffles me a bit. i think things will all work out in the end, but for now it is unpleasant.

But hey! We got a dog!!! And she is so sweet ...i think she went through a lot of hardship and/or abuse before the Animal Rescue League found her but we are glad to have her and will nurse her back to complete health (she has some skin issues....).

Honestly, it does make me feel better. i even took her with me to the store today and felt better about coming back to the car and it still being there! LOL. It is a good thing...a very good thing.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The neighbors and their roaches.

i have lived in my city home for 8 years and though i see the occasional roach and/or mouse, i truly hardly see any bugs in my home. One reason could be that i am a clean freak, the other reason is that i have laid down roach traps every once in a while as a precaution and my cats take care of any two winters ago, i plugged up every hole in my basement (100 yr old house...basement walls are brick with plaster and there are some gaps in some of the bricks...or used to be!)

So i really have not had a problem....until recently.

Enter my neighbors. i am connected to that house on one full wall...every room. They were very dirty, they fried chicken all the time, kept their trash (tons of baby diapers) on the back porch, once had a dead possum in their house for days and days (the mother was running from the constables and had left the house...the possum got in through a back window that was always hanging open and could not get out...and died...and stank). They were notorious for their drug dealing, and i even believe she was running a small prostitution ring, would spit and throw up on the sidewalk and piss out of their windows.

This is in the historic district of my city.

Almost every week one of my other neighbors, or myself, would call city codes and complain. We called the police, we fought with them and daily i prayed that God would remove them. They did not know how to use an inside voice and used the "f" word every third word spoken. i am no prude by any imagination, but it was more than i could handle. The stress and strife and tension on the block was felt by all. i believe they were the ones who broke into my house and maybe the houses of some others. Long story a bit shorter....they were horrible.

They moved about one month ago. Skipped rent and moved. The owner came by looking for rent and i told them they had moved. i also told them we had seen mice running around inside their house and outside as well.

And the roaches.....

Apparently, they had tons of them. The other day, i saw three in one night and i about died. Then i saw three more early this week and was ready to burn down the house. i cannot stand roaches. They are from hell. i hate them.

So.....i have armed myself with bleach, roach bait, Borax, diatomaceous earth, paper towels, and grim determination that this house will NOT become infested. i have caulked places where there were gaps in the kitchen, i have scrubbed and cleaned and you could seriously eat off of my kitchen floor (just got done mopping it...the water wasn't even dirty). i moved the fridge today and cleaned, i clean under the cupboards and stove....i am telling you, i think i might be going crazy.

i have threatened to have the house sprinkled with holy water and will get a Pastor all up in here and then let's see what scurries around this house. i have declared war on them...and i will win. (cause if not, i am moving!)

But i must say, though these two weeks have been a pain in the neck dealing with the roaches, i am more than glad that those people moved away. Now am just hoping and praying for nice, clean, quiet people.

Do you think that could be possible????

Thursday, November 4, 2010

They laughed at me...!

Today was rainy and cold and i wanted to take the day off and just stay in bed to read...which i did. Not depression related at all, just reading. That lasted until about noon and then i had a lot of things to get done. It did feel like i had the morning off because i was able to just relax.

When i mentioned this to my mother and sister, they broke out in peals of laughter. Apparently when one is unemployed, one has every day off.

hmphf! i disagree...every day i am cleaning or running errands or applying for jobs...

So grrrrrr to them. Homemakers can have time off too!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Keeping busy

Despite the month of darkness, i actually did get a number of things accomplished. One of those being fall house cleaning. i threw out a bunch of stuff, gave a ton of things to Goodwill (even some beloved books!!!), washed almost all my windows, and have done almost all the curtains. Today, i did my bedroom curtains and though they were not gross and terribly dirty, it sure smells amazing when they are fresh and clean and the breeze is blowing through them.

i also patched my roof numerous times (oh yay), fixed my gutter on the side of the house (will need to replace it in the Spring) and painted and put up a border in my entry way. Those things make a difference in how the house looks and feels. Also helps with a good mood.

OH! and decorated for the fall. i surely love my fall decorations, the vibrant hues....they will stay up until Thanksgiving and then will start to decorate for Christmas. Those things always make me happy as well. Not terribly life changing but lighten the mood...the spirit...and it makes my house look pretty too.

When i came home from doing laundry today, my first thought when i walked in the house was ...OHHH how pretty. (i cleaned big time last night) And that is such a very, very nice thought to have of one.s house, is it not? To enjoy coming home. Truth be told, i have some rooms that look horrible, because they need some repair or total remodel (after all the houes was built 100 yrs ago), but the cleanness and decorations are something the soothes..and invites..and relaxes me.

So come on over for a cup of coffee or tea...

Monday, November 1, 2010

It has been an entire month...

...since i last posted. Good grief, where did the time go? ohhh, i know...i was depressed and under the covers most of October. So that could be part of it. meh.

i am not usually a depressed kind of person, i mean, everyone has down days but October was just hard on me this year and i don't know why. Today is the first Monday in more than a month where i did not sleep till 10am and then spend the rest of the day on the couch. How pathetic is that?

But here we are, in a new month and with some determination, God's grace and strength and a new schedule (and a good glass of wine or two) it is going to be a great month, indeed.

Also, in the month of October, i found Mrs. Meyers Clean Day products and instantly fell in love. That helps to make the house spic and span which will also lift one's spirits...AND i did incredibly well with coupons and sale items last month for grocery shopping. my sister and i saved over $100 and had a good bit of money left over for the rest of the month. So it wasn't all a bust...

So here's to a new month, kids.