Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Horsing Around

I usually plan a little birthday tea for Carisa every year.

Then she usually makes everyone celebrate my birthday too.

Our birthdays are three days apart.

So it became kind of a thing for us to throw our own themed tea for each other.

We’ve done some fun ones.

Then Sumita looked at me over a meal at our women’s retreat last month and said that she and Julie were going to plan it this year.

Even though I really enjoy planning the tea each year, it was even better just attending it.

Carisa and I didn’t know until one or two days before where we were going.

Horsey Hall.

We were going to have lunch at a place about 40 minutes away called Horsey Hall.

Julie had been a few weeks before with her mother and sister and really wanted us to experience it.

It’s an old farm house turned into a restaurant and shop.
Even the rooms upstairs have stuff displayed that can
be purchased.
As soon as we pulled in we noticed the horse heads on the stone pillars. They were pretty much begging for a photo op.

These horses weren’t sporting a look of daring heroics. 

No, we decided they looked like they were the horse carrying Ichabod Crane when they first spotted the Headless Horseman.

Am I right?

We decided to do our own impression.

Me, Julie, Scared Horse and Carisa

Not to brag, but I kind of nailed it. 

If successfully impersonating a scared horse 
is something to brag about.

Julie did get the shock part.

Carisa, dear sweet friend, this will always, ALWAYS be the picture that I will seek out to make me laugh on days when I need a pick-me-up. That face. I’ve never seen it on you before. 

But then again, I’ve never asked you to pretend 
to be a frightened horse before.

Somehow I still look like the horse here:

If it looks like I’m trying to tame the wild horse I’m riding, let me assure you--
I was just freezing my thighs off because that metal horse sculpture was COLD!

And Carisa thought it was hilarious, apparently.

Carisa did think for a brief period that going to Horsey Hall meant actually riding horses.
 Judging by this picture, riding horses with her is going to be WILD.

Sumita couldn’t come with us since her daughter was in the hospital. We missed her!

The food was great and the peanut butter pie was AMAZING!! The owner took such good care of us. Her name was Julie Andrews. 

No, she wouldn’t sing, 
“The Sound of Music”. 

Of course, I asked. 
It was my birthday.

 Julie (my friend, not Andrews) did a great job. She made these adorable horse candy jars for favors.

Mine was filled with jelly beans. 

Everyone else got chocolate.

She later shared with me this picture of trying to spray paint in 40 degree weather with a little helper:

This is her dog Ruby, who decided to “help” by walking right in the wet black spray paint.

We were joined by our lovely friends who made the drive just to celebrate us. 
What a blessing to have them all in my life. 

There was a barn and a shed outside with furniture and bigger items to purchase.

Then it started to snow! I don’t know if you can see the flakes against the corn crib. 

When I was little I used to pray for snow on my birthday. 

It happened once when I turned 7. 

And then again this year. 
But I didn’t pray for it this time.

Sometime during dessert, I heard laughter explode from the end of the table. 

I don’t know about you, but if I see people in tears from laughing,

I want to know what the funny is!

Apparently, Julie,

who had been sitting right next to me, 

started to notice something feeling not quite right 
behind her knee.

She felt a bulge of some sort.

She slipped out of her chair and moved down towards the end of the table so she could sit on a bench and investigate further. 

In front of four of the ladies with us,

Julie shimmied 
and tugged 
and curiously dug
until she pulled out what ended up being 

yesterday’s underwear from her pant leg.

These were skinny fit pants, people.

I can’t believe she didn’t notice it earlier.

Or maybe she did notice. 
Right at the moment she snapped this selfie.

“What the?"
What I thought was her impression of a scared horse just may have been the realization that there was day old drawers in her knee pit.

Moving on…

It was the perfect day. 

Horsing around with friends. 


Taking pictures and getting a funny story to tell. 

About underwear.

It’s like it was all just planned out perfectly for us.

Sumita and Julie:  you are hired again for next year!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Things You Would’ve Heard

If you followed me around this past week or been a Stink Bug on my wall, these are some things you would’ve heard:

1)  “Yes, the rash has been there a few months.” Talking with the doctor about McDaniel’s weird rash on just one leg. 

2)  “How’s your tongue pain today?” Me everyday after school to Ellie.

3)  “No problem, it’s no big deal.” Me talking to a worker guy who just crashed his truck into the front end of my car.

Really wasn’t a big deal. Monte took it to someone
called the “Dent Doctor” and it looks good as new.

4)  “Yeah, that rash has been there for at least a month.” Talking with the vet about Nigel’s yucky rash all over his belly.

5)  “No, that isn’t the right siding.” Me having to tell the worker guy who just crashed his truck into the front end of my car two hours before. He looked like he was going to cry or I would’ve alleviated the mood by adding, “At least you didn’t just crash into my car!” 

6)  “What do you think?” Asked of anyone who walked through our unfinished addition about non life threatening things like door placement, the position of the island and where in the world the trash can will go.

7) “Get rid of it!” Said to Monte and I by Julie about a built-in stove hearth area that we REALLY loved about our old kitchen but was causing problems with configuring cabinets and counter tops in the new space.

I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me
earlier to just get rid of it. 

I’m keeping the tiles though.

8)  “YAY!” More or less said by Paul, our builder, when we told him to get rid of the built-in stove hearth area. He’d been scratching his head for some time trying to figure out how to work around it. Apparently he and the electrician could not figure out WHY we wanted to keep it. Apparently, Paul and the electrician talk about us when we aren’t around.

9)  “Oh! You have an oven and dishwasher in your living room!” 

Said by anyone and everyone who steps into our living room. I don’t even see them anymore. The girls want to put lights on them for Christmas.

You might as well see our makeshift kitchen in the dining room while we’re at it:

The good news is we can FINALLY open the right fridge
 door ALL THE WAY!! It’s heaven!! 

10)  “Happy Birthday!” said by me to Carisa last Monday.
Carisa with glowing hair.
Lemon Meringue Cheesecake.
It’s close-your-eyes-while-you-chew good.

And said to me by lovely family and friends last Thursday. It was a week of fun, food and friends. More on that later. I am truly blessed.

11)  “Be funny.” Said by Sumita’s daughter in so many words while visiting her in the hospital. You know what? I couldn’t think of a single funny thing to say or do in that moment. Not one. Why is it that earlier during bible study which was being led by OUR PASTOR, I had to plug up my nose with both thumbs to keep from laughing OUT LOUD at ALL THE FUNNY THINGS running through my head?!?! Yes, they all involved Carisa. And a honking car horn. And perfume. And ebola. Which isn’t funny. But when Carisa mouths it to you in a crowded elevator with lots of medical professionals at a hospital, it’s hard not to laugh. Especially when one of the professionals is carrying a cooler over their shoulder. 

12)  “Go get the lice magnifying glass". Said by me to Ellie because just saying “Go get the magnifying glass” left her looking at me blankly. Add the word lice in and she knew exactly what I was talking about.

She had a splinter. Still does, actually. My middle-aged eyes could not be helped by even the magnifying glass. Monte couldn’t see it either. She limped to school, poor thing. 

13)  “Where is the candy corn?!”  Said loudly by Monte in the middle of the drug store where Christmas had exploded and shoved anything Thanksgiving and candy cornish right on out until next August. 

14)  “I’ll be out throwing stuff away in the dumpster.” Said Monte with glee as he finally got to have some paint can dumpster time. Not even the 32 degree weather and the fact it was spitting snow deterred him.

15)  “Can you find my hat?”  Said by Monte to me just this morning as he had to SHOVEL the driveway. In November.

I couldn’t find his hat. So I gave him my cute gray knit one with the big buttons on the side. He must’ve been too cold to notice. He looked like Ma from The Waltons. 

So that’s my eavesdropped, slightly out of context, life in a nutshell.

What’s something I would’ve overheard said at your house this week?

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Lion Named Buster

I had a dream a few weeks ago.

Shocker, I know.

I had a dream that the other Karmen’s family and my family met somewhere for a weekend.

We met somewhere with a big house on lots of land in a rural, area with woods around it.

Because of all the land, we brought our dog, Nigel

He’s not a bit happy wearing a pair
of toddler sunglasses we found.

and Karmen brought her pet lion named Buster.

That’s right, she had a lion named Buster.

Her lion named Buster and my dog, Nigel, LOVED each other.

Nigel would run SO FAST just to keep up with Buster.

Buster’s mane was so soft. I know this, because he was so docile that he let me touch it.

In my dream. 
I’ve never actually touched a lion’s mane. 
Or really even had the desire to touch a lion’s mane.

I wasn’t afraid of him. 

He was regal and beautiful like Aslan from "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe".

Nigel followed him around everywhere.

It was like a snapshot of heaven. 

A little white dog running fearlessly side by side 
with the King of the Jungle.

The lion and the lamb.
The lion and the lamb.

Then they got lost.

We looked everywhere but couldn’t find them.

We got in our cars and drove to the closest farm and told the owner to keep an eye out for a little 13-pound Schnoodle named Nigel and, oh by the way,  a lion named Buster.

The neighbor’s ears perked up with the mention of a lion.

We found on this neighbor's grounds,

which turned out to be part trailer park, part camping ground, 

a small zoo of exotic animals including a giraffe and a zebra.

They lived in very small cages with cement floors.

They seemed very sad.

The owner was very motivated to find Buster before we found Buster so that he could add him to the zoo.

We took off quickly, screaming our animal’s names 
as we ran into the woods.

We found Nigel, wet and panting, running to the house.

We could hear the crew that the farmer had put together on motorcycles and four-wheelers, deep in the woods.

Buster ran out of the woods and stopped.

He was so beautiful in that moment.

Looking around, totally free.

He saw us and ran to us.

I woke up then before I figured out how we were going to get Buster in our car before the farmer caught up to us.

I told Monte about the dream and his first question was 
if Nigel tried to sniff Buster’s hind end like he does 
when he is around a strange dog.

Kind of killed the theatrical movie trailer music in my head.

There is so much in my dream that I could spiritualize but I will keep it simple.

As I wrote this post, the song that kept running through my mind was Chris Tomlin’s:

                                                           "How Great Is Our God"
The splendor of a king
Clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice
All the earth rejoice

He wraps Himself in light,
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
Trembles at His voice

How great is our God – sing with me
How great is our God – and all will see
How great, how great is our God

Age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the end
Beginning and the end

The Godhead Three in One
Father, Spirit and Son
Lion and the Lamb
Lion and the Lamb


How great is our God – sing with me
How great is our God – and all will see
How great, how great is our God

Name above all names
Worthy of all praise
My heart will sing
How great is our God

Name above all names
You're worthy of all praise
And my heart will sing
How great is our God

How great is our God – sing with me
How great is our God – and all will see
How great, how great is our God

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Removing the Tongue Tumor/Eyeball

Ellie made it through surgery just fine last Thursday.

The surgery didn’t take as long as we were told.

Carisa and I didn’t even have time to get through 
all the latest “catch-up” in the waiting room.

I was so glad she came because as a seasoned mom of two who have had their wisdom teeth out, she had the presence of mind to video Ellie hopped up on laughing gas while I talked with the surgeon and made a follow-up appointment at the front desk.

The surgeon said the tumor was larger than he expected.

He showed it to us in a little jar.

It looked like an eyeball.

A bloody eyeball.

So Ellie had a third eye under her tongue.

That has some potential for a super hero power.

After the surgery, the surgeon told me Ellie was extremely quiet before the procedure and then as soon as the laughing gas kicked in, she got “lots of words”

So many that he had to tell her to be quiet so that he could 
put his hands in her mouth and do the surgery. 

Then he had to remind her of that a few more times during the surgery. 

Carisa told the surgeon Ellie got the “wordiness” from me.

I couldn’t really deny it. 
I can’t even imagine me on laughing gas. 
I could be an auctioneer. 
Or a rapper.

Ellie On Laughing Gas seemed quite fascinated by how numb her chin was and that it felt like plastic and was HUGE and HER LIP WAS NOT HER LIP ANYMORE and the surgeon was SO FAST and she couldn’t believe HOW HEAVY her tumor that looked like an eyeball was when she picked up the bottle. And she really didn’t like the color brown except in autumn. Then it was OK. And she REALLY wanted to put the surgeon’s business card in her jacket pocket if she could just. figure. out. how. to. unzip. the. zipper. And wasn’t all her pockets AMAZING?! Especially that one really HUGE one?! Wasn’t it AMAZING?! And she PROMISED to be more quiet in the loudest voice possible. And all the nurses were SO NICE. Especially the one that called her GIGGLE PANTS. “She called me GIGGLE PANTS, MOM!” And the workers outside taking care of the landscaping. They were SO NICE. So she waved at them from the car. Then she took a picture of me driving the car. In close range. With the flash on. And IT WAS ADORABLE. And SHE LOVED Taylor Swift’s song on the radio because it was HER TUNE so she decided to make her legs like butterfly wings and flap them to the beat until she told me it hurt. So I told her to stop. Then McDaniel called and asked if Ellie On Laughing Gas was still funny or if she’d missed it. I reassured her by explaining all the above.

Once Ellie On Laughing Gas became Ellie Without Laughing Gas Right After Tongue Tumor Surgery, things became less funny.

And way more painful.

Eating became nearly impossible because the swelling and pain kept her from opening her mouth very far. And the the lingering numbness made swallowing very difficult. 

McDaniel tried to feed her mashed potatoes.
Her stomach wanted it but her mouth
and tongue just couldn’t do it.

The next few days were frustrating to Ellie. She got hungry but nothing would go into her mouth but liquid.

Not even Jell-O the first day after surgery.

Two days after surgery we got her a caramel frappa-fluffy drink (without coffee) from Starbucks and that seemed to hit the spot.

Have you ever had the caramel frappa-fluffy drink from Starbucks? 
It makes a milkshake taste like Milk of Magnesia.

By that evening, she craved meat but just couldn’t chew it no matter how small of a piece we gave her.

We sent her back to school Monday with a lunch packed with soft, mushy items and she proudly announced afterwards, that she bought herself some chicken and was able to eat it.

She was quite proud of that accomplishment.

Yesterday, she came home from school in pain. It was a choir day and she said all that singing and moving her mouth just about did her in. 

I told her it would’ve been ok if she didn’t sing and she said the teacher walks around the room making sure the kids aren't “faking it”. 

Whoa. That’s intense.

We go back to the surgeon the week before Thanksgiving to make sure the stitches have completely dissolved and things are healing properly and to get the results of the pathology report.

Let’s hope she is way less loud and chatty this visit. 

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The Last Few Days

I was tempted to title this post “What Happened this Week” and then I realized

it’s only Tuesday.

So it’s only FELT like a week.

Over the weekend, we packed up the entire kitchen. 

Which felt like it took two weeks 
rather than two days.

I have WAY more dishes than I thought

and WAY less plastic containers than I thought. 

And I’m pretty sure I need to start over with my 
baking sheets and cooking utensils.

The empty kitchen.

Yesterday we got the windows and slider door installed.

It was like, “LET THERE BE LIGHT” had been declared instantly 
once the holes were cut out of the barn. 

I love how big the windows are!

Monte forgot that we had packed away all our cooking and dining possessions and brought home steak and broccolini to make for dinner.

He went in the garage and came back with two pans and one steak knife.

So we had to use the steak knife to stir the broccolini and flip the steaks.

And, of course, 
to cut ALL the steaks 
once they were done.

Ellie tried cutting hers with a plastic knife but it really didn’t go anywhere.

Today, I woke up early to go vote and look for a hot plate at Target.

They don’t have hot plates at Target.

They have electric skillets.

But I’m not sure I want Monte using an electric skillet every morning to make his eggs so then I could haul the electric skillet to the basement to clean in the utility sink.

Because as of a few hours ago, this was where 
our kitchen sink had relocated:

Good thing we don’t live in a subdivision with
a homeowner’s association. They might frown upon
a kitchen sink in the bushes and cabinets in the driveway.
They probably wouldn’t like all the Kroger sacks filled
with Nigel’s poop lying under the lilac tree by the front
walkway either.

There is a fair amount of noise and progress happening up in here.

It’s amazing what a simple sledge hammer can do.

I mean BESIDES make Nigel a shaky nervous mess. 

McDaniel felt like he was nervous eating when he finished her potato soup.

No more barn! It actually looks like part of the house now.

The girls have school off today so we’ve been holed up in our bedrooms while our kitchen is being destroyed and a large pork shoulder is cooking in the crock pot in the dining room for dinner.

My friend Carol, who just went through a kitchen renovation,

told me about crock pot liners (no hauling that bad boy to the utility sink for cleaning!) 

and hot plates.

And to also to adjust my thinking about cooking and eating to “camping” mode.

Let’s hope we can all remain happy campers until this project is finished.

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