Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Some Summer Stuff

Summertime summertime sum sum summertime's almost here for me and my household.  And that means there will be two early risers around here just rarin' to take hold of some free timin' interactive fun.  I really love it when school is out and the schedule is ours again to do with what we will.  

But what will we do?  For some reason this year I don't seem to know.  There are SO MANY different options posted around for sport camps and workshops on anything from photography to pirating, swim lessons, teams or pool passes.  What about piano or guitar lessons and what's this brochure about church camp?  
 Jolly Roger the choices!

My boys are 5 and 10 now and they are both eligible for enrollment in this plethora of $50+ a pop classes, which together would equal more fun than I or my pocketbook could possibly shake a stick at.  

All of these options have caused me to struggle with my theory of busyness which goes something like "AVOID BUSYNESS AT ALL COSTS".  And it has worked up to this point in that we have not been terribly overachieving thus far in life.  But then the downside of that is that (you guessed it) we have not been terribly overachieving thus far...in life.  Wah wah.

I finally decided I'm OK with that still, and  recently chose to shake my stick at a one week day camp in Oklahoma City, because my kids were feeling for a "nature" experience this year(and it was the one camp I actually enjoyed in my youth-don't get me started).  This also sounded great to me because that meant I was able to enroll myself in a self taught "Advanced Bargain Browsing" class that will consist of me wandering around my hometown visiting all my favorite "big city" stores with my Mumsipoo.  Woot!  

The problem I've always had with being too busy is rooted in the fact that I think children need plenty of free time.  They need time to explore their world in curiosity.  Time to imagine, to read, to be alone, time to rest.  I don't want to always be rushing them feverishly from one scheduled event to the next.

 Nope, there's plenty of time in adulthood for that.  I actually egged my own house today in such a desperation to get in the door with some groceries.  I have no idea why I was even in a hurry.  It's entirely possible though that I might have had some repressed rebellion against my own busy week and felt the need to egg the lady responsible for it.  This certainly backs up my theory.

And then there's the fact that my youngest starling has begun acting up at preschool in a most unflattering way (gasp, the scandal of it all).  I feel fairly sure he was only head butting his teachers out of love though, and he saw a billy goat at the petting zoo once?.. (nervous laugh developing)...Then they must have mistaken a yawn for a right hook on that other occasion.  I'm almost certain. What? Hello.
Nah, I'm not one of those mother's who's precious Junior's behavior is all to be blamed on his teachers and caregivers.  I know his challenges were given to him by his first parents rotten choices.  And OUR challenge now is to try to keep the little guy seeking the right choices and controlling the wrong impulses to make his unique and  magnetic personality work in his favor.  He just needs time...and lots of attention.
I mention these recent behavioral issues because they are also changing our plans this summer.  We've decided maybe our Dandy should have another year under his belt before he starts kindergarten.  And since we were advised to keep him in school all summer to keep his momentum up for Kindy, we now think he should probably just take a break and do some of that resting and playing business his mother is so fond of.   All work and no play makes Dandy want to take a swing at somebody!  We appreciate our school system, but we want his thirteen years there to be good years if at all possible.  What better way is there to go about it than to have a long easy summer together to contemplate it all.  Ah, yes.  That'll do it.

Friday, May 23, 2008

T.G.I.F.P.: Slogan petitions for additional letter for "photo" ending.

Because not all Fridays bring humor and smiles, I thought a few unfortunate facial disturbances would help.  I love how the baby in the top pic is even preparing for the bat's impact.  YEOW! Oh, the beauty of a captured expression. Bahha.  Enjoy the holiday weekend everyone!  Wear protective headgear if you have to. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Mid-year Evaluation of My Personal Smartering Journey.

I'm a little disheartened today as I write this for it seems I've had a slight setback in my progress.  What progress you asked? 
Well, it all started at the beginning of the year when I bravely resolved that this would be my YEAR OF INTELLIGENCE!!!(igence, gence, gence) And it seemed like things were going along well enough.  There were no glaring problems anyway. 
  •  I have done a complete and thorough Bible Study(Good good, that means I am moving toward my goals of Biblical knowledge.  But not pridefully mind you-no never that.)
  •  I have decided NOT to point out everything I don't know in passing conversation,  but instead just nod sometimes like I'm thinking and filled with opinions on the topic.  This may not be intelligence per say, but it's being more intelligent looking which will help any actual gained intelligence be more credible later.  Sounds smart doesn't it?  I know.  Oops, I'm over in the pride camp now-drat.
  • I have been working toward figuring out my own personal abilities (i.e. encouragement, marketing, clowning for the young-I knew that workshop would come in handy one day, empathy-so sorry you have to endure this post, volunteering to help with stuff, losing weight by muscle atrophy due to not eating and/or moving as often).  AND THEN utilizing those abilities in my daily life, rather than always striving to have someone else's skill set (i.e. organizational talents, getting up at dawn, thinking nice thoughts in the morning, loving to garden, understanding politics, being a "hottie" with ripped abs- etcetera) you get the point.
  • Watching WAY less television and listening to entertaining if not ALWAYS educational podcasts on my Nano instead.
  • My favorite new smartification this year has been having a blog!!!  Of course, that comes with all the pitfalls of wasting huge chunks of my book reading time. But reading your exciting blogs and writing my own silly one has in fact made me just a tiny wee bit more intelligent! Yeah!  That's progress baby! 
But then today as I was trying to "shop smarter" by avoiding Wal-Mart and all its pitfalls of money sucking temptations, I think I did something wrong.  I've been enjoying running by BRAUM'S(an ice cream and fast food restaurant chain) for their hormone free milk and eggs for a while now.  Then they expanded their store to include one produce/meat aisle and one more tiny freezer then a couple shelves of bread, cereal and chippies.  This all sounds perfectly harmless and even convenient for a drive by situation.  But apparently people don't go there for their entire grocery load.  I got a cart and filled it with several meals worth of items, all the while patting myself on the back for the uncharacteristic speed in which I was gathering groceries.  

Then, I turned the tiny corner to the checkout station and started laying out my food.  The store manager came over and excitedly said "Have you heard of our special?!"  I said "No."  And she proceeded to tell me that with a $20 dollar purchase or more, and I was surely going to hit that mark, haha, I would receive a FREE ice cream accessory product.  A what?  She explained that meant popsicles or nutty bars or something.  Not a tub of ice cream, but an accessory that would look nice with(?) it.  

"Ok." I smiled and went to grab an accessory.  Then she finished ringing me up and her eyes lit up like she had just pulled the lever on her cash register and hit the jackpot.  I strolled over, nutty bars in hand, and went for my debit card, when she had another epiphany right there in front of all of us.  I had just bought the most groceries in a fast food restaurant that she had apparently seen someone purchase in her few months as manager.  She said "WAIT A MINUTE!  You are allowed a free ice cream accessory product for EVERY twenty dollars you spend here!  I suddenly realized I  needed to go pick out three more accessories for an entirely blinged out fleet of paper grocery sacks full.  
Now that she too had counted up how many  treats I had earned with my 7 minute shopping spree, the nice lady was beside herself with thoughts of sales awards and promotion.  She rushed over to the freezer section and started telling me all the combinations I could get and what they were worth.  I accepted one of the combinations after she stressed how entirely $free$ they were, but at this point I was actually getting a little shocked and embarrassed.  
I felt like spotlights were on me and confetti had just fallen from the ceiling tiles from the extravagantly UN-clever way I had just bought all my groceries at a FAST FOOD JOINT! 
 Oh, the shame I felt as Joyce-I knew Ms. Manager by name now- summoned an ice cream scooping young man over to help me with my sacks and sacks of her grateful merchandise.  As she handed me my receipt, she gave me a full eye contact locked gaze and said "We surely appreciate YOU".  What could I say back but how much I felt the same(But thinking "What on earth have I done.  And where did all of these balloons come from."). 
This scene didn't have an intelligent feel to it at all.  In fact, I was shaken to the core as to how "last year" this type of behavior surely must be for me.  
Once I thought it out though, I did have quite a few meal options and other than the ice cream bars and the impulse Cheetos purchase (that no doubt took me over the edge into the fourth free accessory item), they were all fairly healthy. 

 And if I were at Wal-Mart, wouldn't it have taken me that earlier 7 minutes to park and enter the building then another hour of zoned out strolling through each department getting a lot more of basically the same stuff in lesser quality?  Maybe. Yes. But why wouldn't I run into other budget conscious people whilst shopping at Braums if this were true?  Yep, that's what I thought.  Not too real intelligent now is I?  Ah well, it IS a process?  Now.  Who'd like a nice cold accessory?  I have plenty!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A never too late Mothers Day Spotlight

Would ya?  Could ya? Take a stroll with me?
Down to my Mimsy's Fine Art Gallery

Of course, it's really called Jan Hutchinson.com,
but for this gal it's hard calling her anyone but Mom.

She's succeeded in oils and has painted for years,
she's captured the landscapes of both far and near.

At my Dad's office all of her wildest beasts hang.
Not stuffed on wall mounts, but neatly painted and framed.

These days she's loosed her stylings just a hair,
with pastels she now captures breezy scenes with fresh air.

A more pleasant combo Broker, Artist, Mother, Friend,
you'll truly not find 'less it's SHE once again! 

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My week in a pistacio shell

I don't really know how to organize my thoughts today- or ever perhaps.   Probably because I have half my brain candied and on a stick like cheap fair food, from the danged ole diabetes and the other half is beautifully preserved in Nutrasweet and on display in the What's left of Shan museum nestled in a thicket of dense trees somewhere in an undisclosed location. 
Don't worry, that didn't make a lick of sense to me either so let's just move on.   

Boy howdy did this week ever fly by in a hurry!  Oh yes it did.  I can't really remember everything that happened because, let's face it, that would almost be a week of recall and I believe I might have mentioned the condition my recaller is in.  

I just know it started with a whole bunch of kids and didn't seem to lighten up much after that.  And then there was that throat slashing movie Friday night!  Have you guys seen Sweeney Todd?  EEYIE!  I was really looking forward to watching Jonny Depp, Sasha Baron Cohen and one of my faves Alan Rickman full on singing their hearts out.  But when the blood started gushing with every downbeat, I was feeling ready for that music to end!  It REALLY was less than cheery, which is fine I guess, but I suppose I like my musicals a bit.... brighter.  I don't think I'm a fan of Mr. Sondheim.  And as long as I'm sounding so grouchy, I may even be tired of Helena Bohnam Carter always playing dead white and craaazy.  Can we see the lady with some normal skin tones and teeth for once?  

 Saturday morning I DID go with little Trisha to the Farmer's Market in Fayetteville which was a delight  even perhaps a deliciary of greenery if I dare say so!  The veggies weren't hugely plentiful yet but they did have plants galore and many entertaining sights to be seen and heard.
One of the things I loved about this market was all the little doggies walking around with vests on saying ADOPT ME.  I thought I'd include their pictures for my Mo-inlaw who is shopping for a nice medium sized pooch.  I think Lucy on the top is a great option for you Jane.  She's a good size and is fully house-trained.  She's a beaut coming in fixed and shot filled at the user friendly price of $60.  And she may be wearing that much in her apron!  Why am I always selling things on here?!  

After a morning of dog petting and baby cooing(Yes,they were popping out all over as well but strangely none were wearing ADOPT ME vests-harumph!), I came home and scraped paint off our shed to the tune of PERFECT spring weather outside. LOVE IT!

Today we went to church and then to a picnic with our Churchesians out at Lake Wedington where we lived it up like the Outdoorbergs we always knew we could be canoeing around and soaking up the sun all afternoon.  And instead of a picture, because I didn't want to hike over to the van and get my camera, I'll give you this easy yummy salad recipe I found online and have now taken to two separate food events because it's a warm weather refresher:

Butter lettuce Boomshakalaka(I don't know the real name)

Butter lettuce(duh)
1/4 cup olive oil 
juice from 1 lemon

Mix the olive oil and juice and a dash of salt and pepper and toss onto lettuce. 
Then top with the following:

2 diced avocados
1 container of feta cheese(6oz.?)
2 oranges peeled and chopped
1 small pkg pistacio nuts(probably 3/4 Cup)

It's fresh.  It's delicious. It's a casserole pan of healthy eats. Enjoy.

THEN....We rushed home and got Jamey's music gear all loaded up and went an hour away to a town where he was asked to play for an outdoor youth group gathering at our friends church at 6:00pm. 
 OY and OH MY that could have been exhausting...But it really wasn't.   Though I'm slightly coated in an entire days sweaty grunge,  I'm strangely awake and alert at midnight.  Wait a minute!  Midnight?!  I gotta get in the shower.  Here's a few more pics from our day.  This is Dave M. on the left who came to play with JameyClay.com on the right.  

And here are my tired boys lounging and listening after a long fun day of play.

 Thanks  Jenna and Jason for a great evening dear ones!  And g'night to the rest of you.  I'm kissing the palm of my filthy hand and waving myself away from the glowing screen now.   

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Answering machine song

I'm busy with kids and cousins right now, so in the meantime here's a little bit of real audio from my college days at O.U. (Circa-1991).
A few years back Jamey found a tiny old answering machine tape- I think I had saved for its sheer cuteness alone-and he wandered through it Homeland Security Style finding this little batch of messages. I had perhaps been staying with my parents in the city(40 min away from my apartment) when this guy was trying to reach me. I swore he was always just a friend, but I did realize much later that he had a "thing" for me all along. I guess it was that When Harry Met Sally kind of thing about how guys can't just be friends. I don't know.
ANYWAY, this was on J's blog so I thought I'd share it wicha. He put music to the audio because it's joyously uncomfortable for men to hear. And of course, it's great fun for me as well. TEE HEE! Sorry John. We all had our embarrassing times from those dating or not-so-much dating days. Have a listen!

"The Machine (Blow Things Up)" download

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I'm too boring for this blog

Well now isn't that a little bit funny.  I just wrote the title of this blog and then accidentally posted it.  I was so boring and unsexy to my own blog, it thought I would be better suited to just post a title than to attempt to drag you guys into my incredibly dull hole with me.  

Cute, publish button.  Verry cute.  But it doesn't keep me from droning on, for I am a nagging infection of boredom who ever so briefly just considered blogging about the small dog-sized hair ball I just swept up from all the hard surfaces of my house.  I think my chihuahua is always tricked into thinking we've gotten a third beast when this happens because she immediately rushes over to my sweepings each time and sniffs out the pile like she's smelling the rump of a new and interesting visitor.  Oops, I guess I did  just blog about sweeping my floor didn't I? Nice one Shans.

I think this week I'm feeling a little melancholy about my home alone situation (hands on cheeks and open mouthed McCauley Culkin style).  It's no doubt the effect of the extroverted me being at home without constant people interaction and reaction. I am sulking in the fact that Trisha just started her job, that Becky is doing freelance(again with the money making-harumph) and Shelley is just up up and moving away.  Boo-hoo and double HISS! Where is that shy little book lovin' introverted shan when you need her anyway.  She'd be good company if she wasn't always wanting "alone time".  Aargh.

 Many days I do happily skip about the house by myself, easily being amused by a particular drawer of clothing or a purposefully "silly walk" I've adopted for funsies.  I listen to my i-pod or  read your blogs and talk on the phone a little to get all my people fixes likity-split!  And "where on earth did the day go?" I nervously giggle realizing I am in fact still in my sleepwear at 1:00pm having been lost in a brain wander half the day.

But sometimes this self containment just doesn't cut it and I feel...well,  plain ol' dull; a Dully Lama of my own not-worth-the-press country.  At least in that case I might have people to oversee that have potential to do something interesting.  

No, it's not that at all.  In this case I think it's me not finding ANYTHING interesting anymore.  I was looking at my t.v. last night wondering why I bother with all those extra accidentally free cable channels.  I don't want to see Tila Tequila choosing which of her suiters she'll date by having contests to see which one can be the MOST disgusting in EVERY way.  
I don't want to watch a big batch of model clones dance around with numbered suitcases in the attempt to make a choosing numbered suitcases game interesting.  I don't even want to watch nervous cooks running around bumping into each other as an ANGRY chef from H-E-double hockey sticks Kitchen yells at them until THEY catch fire from all the pitchfork dodging they are doing around a hot grill.

 With entertainment like this who needs depression? For reals now people COME ON!

I know that this is just my temporary dysphoria speaking.  And come next Thursday, I'll be back at that glowing screen watching 'So you think you can dance dance dance?' in surgical focus with the rest of America.  I'm just busying myself this week living out the quote  "If you're bored it's only because you're a boring person"  to the fullest.  SO BE IT!!  And you can suffer it too dear Shanslookers! 

 Oh my.  I've gone and taken it out on you now haven't I?  Sorry dear friends :)  Do come back won't you?  I promise not to say anything too scandalously raw because frankly,  I'm not interesting enough to do so.  Now, I must be off to pet I mean put my trash out.  XOXO's to you and one raspberry for me.  Plllllpt!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Musical Meme'

Hi fellow Blogesians!  Here's a meme that comes from the music page of my ipod. I saw it and thought it looked like a heap of fun topped with a hack of spit!  So I said "What the HEY!  Let's do this thing!" All you do is put your player on "shuffle" and answer the questions with the song title.  Piece-o-cake. I usually listen to podcasts so we'll see together what musical bits come up.

1) How would you describe yourself?
RUSH(4th Avenue Jones)-Ok, yes I HAVE been known to take procrastinating to the level of extreme sporting-only to later become a damage causing tornado to get myself ready for the event I had ignored earlier.

2) What do you like in a guy/girl?
Kid A(John Mayer)- What is with these songs!  Is this my I-pod?  Oh yeah, I let my husband load it with things he thought I'd like.  Apparently I don't use the MUSIC feature too much on this thing because I've never heard these first two.

3) What is your motto?
Under the Weather(K.T. Tunstall)- Oops, I guess I do use this excuse a lot but it's not the BEST motto to adopt.

4) What do your friends think of you?
John Lee Supertaster(They Might Be Giants)- Alrighty then, this one I know.  I guess my friends are confusing my taster with my smeller.  It is John Lee Super.

5) What do you think about often?
Stoppin' the Love(K.T. Tunstall-again?)- I'll admit I think about this precisely once a month.  It never fails at this particular time each uh...shall we say full moon(howl!), I seriously consider packing up my fat clothes and moving into my van. LEAVE ME ALONE-GAWSH!

6) What do your parents think of you?
Smile(Lilly Allen)-Finally something nice!  Wait a minute, I forgot this is kind of a mean song "At first, when I see you cry yi yi, It makes me smi i ile.  Yes it makes me smi i ile."  NO!  They would NEVER! (runs off crying-because after all I'm a people pleaser)
7) What do you think of your best friend?
Take Me Away(4th Avenue Jones-is this thing mixing?)-"Take me away to the nearest coffee joint!" I believe is the full title

8) What do you think of the person you like? 
Let's Hear That String Part Again(Sufjan Stevens)-I have no clue how to interpret this but I just LOVE anything by Sufjan S!  hearts

9) What do you want to be when you grow up?
Shame for You(Lilly Allen)-"Well now Shannon let's just check the catalog and see what classes are required for this 5th and hopefully final change of majors. Oh well, after all these years it looks like you will be graduating with a B.S. in Shame with a double minor in quality friend making and money sucking. Congratulations!"

10) What do you think when you see the person you like?
Overjoyed(Jars of Clay)- We have a match!

11) What song will they play at your wedding?
All This Time(Sting)- Now, these are finally making sense.

12) What will they play at your funeral?
All good Naysayers Speak Up or Forever Hold Your Peace(Sufjan Stevens)-Well, it's a question too late but I simply can't fudge the list.  It does make for an interesting choice for my funeral though.  I'm sure it would get a few eyebrow raises but once the negative talk ball starts rollin' the party really gets GOIN'! 

13) What is your hobby/interest?
Bed,Bed,Bed(They Might Be Giants) SCORE!!  Now the Shano-Nano tells true!
(update: Terroni! Sleeping! Sleeping is an interest, even a hobby for me at times.  I speak of nothing else here cheeky girl!!:)

14) What is your biggest fear?
Soul Meets Body(Death Cab for Cutie)-Interesting.  Verrry Interesting.  I thought it was having a toad hop on me. 

15) What is your biggest secret?
Desert Rose(Sting)-Post Secret- I don't water my roses. SHARP INHALE OF SHOCK!

16) What do you think of your friends?
Head over Heals(Tears for Fears)-Awwww...My ALL TIME Favorite group comes up when I think of my friends. I am, in fact, head over heals for all of you. I'm biting my lip and shaking my head right now as well as Bill Clinton ever did.

17) What is your theme song?
Change(Tears for Fears-ipod hates to leave them just yet)-Wait a minute here!  Am I running for office?

18) What do you think of your family?
Monumental Continental(4th Avenue Jones)-These lyrics say it all. "Stretched out four-door Continental. Enough for me plus all my kinfolk. That's how we rollin'!"

19) What is your best friend's theme song?
Mad World(Tears for Fears-yet again!)-Looks like my little i-poddy's got a sense of humor.  OH YOU!! pinch pinch

20) What is your mood right now?
Out of Egypt, Into the Great Laugh of Mankind and I shake the dirt from my sandals(Sufjan Stevens)- Well, I uh, didn't realize a mood could be so specific.

21) If your heart could talk what would it say?
White Shadows(Cold Play)- There just aren't any dark ones in there.  It's all fairy dust and butterflies so I'm sure my heart would sound like Tinkerbell if the little darlin' could talk.

22) What do your co-workers think of you?
Breathe(Anna Nalick)- The lyrics are saying something about unraveling my latest mistake. This is a dumb meme.

23) What does your future look like?

Clap your hands(They Might be Giants)- They seem to have the most appropriate songs on my Nano.  Yeah for bright futures!!  And the end of long memes.  Clap Clap Clap Clap!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Get thee to a big cit-ee!

Man!  Oh man!  I have lost all hope in my small town's ability to keep me youthfully yet tastefully clad!  I went to most of the stores in Siloam yesterday hoping to find one (just one?) wicked cool but conservatively classic short sleeved shirt to wear tonight on my big date** with my betrothed.  I came home empty handed and despondent.

I decided early this year that I would make a conscious effort to dress my age and not commit all of the usual hot weather fashion felonies that temp my inner exhibitionist to get her skin on!!  I DO SO LOVE to hang my arms and legs out of their cloth containers the second the breeze turns to blaze!  It is only natural to me.  I love to bake in the sun and fine tune my freckles to the point that if you stare at me and let your eyes go jiggly out of focus, I look the same Coppertone shade as my hair.  

Having been born in Oklahoma but not knowing anyone from my previous bloodlines, I always like to think I have at least a little bit of Native American in my skin.  My Grandma being part Chickasaw, always assured me of this possibility-no doubt to keep our differences at bay and me feeling ever included in the family tree. 

 As I got older and was in charge of my own skin care, I cleverly discovered (many blisters and one skin cancer later) that fake Indian blood or not, I'd better get  myself a big bottle of sunscreen and consider sitting under an awning at the pool when possible.  A move incredibly played with only 6 or so years of college under my belt.

But it was only until recently that I have decided that this sun damaged and now aging skin of mine might need to be covered up a hair more to preserve its dignity by showing less of its polka-dottery.

Oh but I grieve the cuteness of maude fashions!  No more will I allow myself that too short of skirt or those daisy duke length summer pants.  I will NOT entertain a sassy strapless shirt alone.  No.  Not this summer.  I will soon be thirty-blipping-nine and it's time to lose the pigtails folks!  It just is.   

So, out I went to find sleeves and style together as a happily wedded match.  But they were clearly off honeymooning in a much larger city because this pair was nowhere to be seen.  I saw all kinds of teenie bopper trends in all kinds of teenie bopper tininess!  This will not do.  No, not for me. Oh, and BRIGHT colors.  Boy are they ever bringing out the fluorescence of my yesteryear (Ouch!  is that a migraine coming on?).  Bright! It's so Bright!   

I was glaringly forced over to the Misses (Matrons?) department where it seemed like loose and flowing was all the rage.  Hey!  I'm not pregnant!  And in fact I'm certain I won't become that way ever again so why is that....Oh, I get it.  You people seem to think I've given up on the figure watch and have settled into the old mid-life spread.  NO!  of course not!  I have in fact taken several vigorous walks recently that go right in the face of that old argument-so there!!! [Spudder, spudder, shaking finger at the air eyebrows raised]

And here I sit now in my indoors only short shorts.  I'm still hopeful that there are some clever looks awaiting my discovery just inside the city limits of Fayetteville or Rogers, but I'm prepared to go even further if I have to.  I'm not giving up on this vain but also considerate quest to dress myself.  We will all be better for it in the (fully covered) end.  

**More on this topic later.