Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Cookie Monster

Today I'm getting all of my ingredients together so I can bake tomorrow. I realize this is not the type of thing I usually say on the blog . . . or anywhere else, for that matter. But there's a cookie swap at my church this weekend, and I'm going to participate if it kills me.

I'm supposed to bake five dozen cookies, which might as well be eleventy-twenty kabazillion cookies for all the baking experience I have, but I am determined. I'm gathering my butter and my flour and my sugars (both brown and white), and I'm going to bake cookies until I hit five dozen or I burn the house down.

My weapon of choice for the event is a potato chip cookie, because it's the only cookie I've ever baked from scratch. Ever. In my life. (God bless you, Mr. Pillsbury.) 

Paired with a Dr. Pepper, potato chip cookies make a fine breakfast. However, your healthcare professional may disagree.

If you don't hear from me tomorrow, it's because I'll be creaming butter and sugar (whatever that means) and trying to disable the smoke alarm.

Wish me luck!

Monday, November 19, 2012

I'm Okay, You're Okay

"So I'm OK with myself, with history, my work, who I am and who I was."

--Sidney Poitier 

Considering I've had four different people ask me in as many days how I'm doing, I figured I should probably update the blog. Maybe I need a new lipstick color. Or maybe there was a story on the news that someone with my name was in a horrible accident. Or maybe I'm just giving off some serious pouty mojo these days. 

I assure you all that I'm fine. I just haven't had anything blog-worthy to share. But since there appears to be some concern, I'll share what's been on my mind lately.
I might get my hair cut short again. Not super short. Maybe about chin length. But I kind of like that it's getting longer. Who knows? But I can promise that I'll be keeping my bangs. I've tried life without bangs, and it's not a good look for me.
Mo got mad at her swing and said something very inappropriate to it. I had to bite my cheek to keep from laughing, but now I'm concerned that I'm failing miserably at this parenting thing.
I'm looking forward to holiday get-togethers. I may be a little anti-social, but even I like a party every once in a while.
I thought I had conquered the bird phobia, so I put my finger in the birdcage at Mo's dance studio. When the bird scooted over to me, though, I jerked my finger back so fast I almost knocked the cage over. Clearly, there is work to be done.
Jack told me this joke the other day: "How do you wake up Lady Gaga? Poke 'er face." I'm not sure if it's the joke that cracks me up or the fact that Jack told it, but I laugh every time I think of it.
I think my car may be on its last leg. I'll be sad to see it go.

I love my sister. She is my best friend. I hope she reads this and knows how strong I think she is.
I'm putting together a readers theater piece for the Advent season for the drama group at church. It's a compilation of letters exchanged between Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his fiancee Maria von Wedemeyer while he was in prison. You talk about perspective? These people had it.
I have no idea what I'm getting most people for Christmas. I may be starting to stress.

Sadly, that's all I've got. I'm hopeful that the holidays will give me something fun to discuss here at A Drop in the Bucket.

I haven't been doing the 30 days of thanks this November. But today, I am thankful for friends who randomly send me "Are you okay?" emails. Hugs to each of you.

Until next time, happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Solo Weekend

"I restore myself when I'm alone." 
--Marilyn Monroe 

Stephen took both kids camping this weekend. For those of you who may not have been math majors, that means I was home alone for about 32 hours. Well, that never happens.

I'd love to be able to tell you that I was very productive and did lots of housekeeping and volunteer work and finished -- heck, even started -- my Christmas shopping. But really I napped a good bit, watched Food Network and ate some junk food.

I tend to be a hermit and have to force myself to venture out, so I was kind of proud that I did send a last-minute text message to some of my girlfriends in the neighborhood to see if they could join me for dinner Saturday night. We had a group of five head out to dinner and then dessert. 


My, weren't we fancy!

Then today I went to church. It was a problem.

Today was the day each year that we recognize/remember those in our church who have died throughout the year. It has been a rough year for our church. We had five names listed -- all active members that are greatly missed. I didn't know that was happening today until I saw the names listed in the bulletin. Ruh roh!

The preacher started with my former pediatrician, a gruff gentleman with a heart of gold. Then he recognized an older man who served faithfully and quietly each Sunday. My eyes started to burn. Then he brought up Grandmama, and I melted into an actual puddle. Next up was my friend Malynda and finally the mother of one of my friends, who for 20 years loved the babies of our congregation (including Jack and Mo) in the nursery at church.

By that point, I was fully entrenched in an "ugly cry." Face scrunched up, throat emitting tiny embarrassing squeaks as I tried to choke back the sobs. 

(Dan, I promise I will bleach the mascara and blush out of your hankie and get it back to you. Thanks for passing it back to me.)

Once the waterworks started, I couldn't seem to pull it together. I was a teary mess for the rest of the service. It was pretty embarrassing, but it's shocking how much you can miss someone. I wasn't prepared to face it today.

But now I'm all better (although I am a little concerned about how I'll manage Thanksgiving, Christmas and January). My little family is back at home with me after having a big time overnight, and we are back in our routine getting ready for another busy week.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I Love When People Send Me Free Stuff

"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about."

~Angela Schwindt

I had the opportunity to travel with just my oldest child yesterday and today, as he had a swim meet and Stephen and Mo stayed behind so Stephen could teach his Sunday School class. It's rare that I get one-on-one time with just one of my children, and I had a blast.

That Jack is one neat kid. Of course, most of the time, he was under water, but the time spent together was such fun. He has a quick wit and fairly deep insights for a preteen boy. 

"Mom, the guy swimming in the lane next to me was huge. He had chest hair. I almost asked him if his son swam too."

And while I'm bragging on him, he swam nine events and got his best times in seven of them. So there.

I'm looking forward to spending some one-on-one time with Mo soon. I think kids need that time to have a parent's undivided attention.

And before I stop talking about swim stuff, I want to thank the fine folks at Summer Solutions, Inc. They were nice enough to send me a few of their products to try, and I'm pretty impressed. 

They sent me their Suit Solutions, a wash for swimwear, and their OneStep, a shampoo/conditioner for swimmer's hair. I won't pretend to understand all of the science behind in all -- although they have a video about it on their website -- but Jack's suits aren't fading at all like they do when I put them in the washer and dryer. 

The biggest difference, though, is in his hair. Jack wears his hair super short, so it usually feels a little like a handful of pinestraw and always, ALWAYS smells like chlorine. Since he's been using the OneStep, his hair is nice and soft, and it doesn't smell like even a hint of chlorine. I'm a fan!

Also -- I can't remember if I've ever shared this, but it bears repeating -- I am not a fan of Halloween. I just don't get it. It's stressful, and I always end up eating all of the candy I buy to hand out.

That's all. I'm going to eat an Almond Joy now. And a Milky Way. And maybe a Snickers.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Duck, Duck, Goose

"It is a clear gain to sacrifice pleasure in order to avoid pain."
--Arthur Schopenhauer 

Whew! So I finally got to wear my boots. Twice now. Monday I wore brown boots with black skinny jeans, and today I'm wearing black high-heeled boots with a black maxi skirt. I've decided boots are the only redeeming aspect of cool(ish) weather. Boots and cranberry sauce.
Admiring my boots at swim practice
In other news, Mo is once again going to be in her dance studio's production of The Lovely Ducklings in December. The Sunday show will be emceed by Miss South Carolina Ali Rogers, so it's shaping up to be quite a big deal. It would be a wonderful new Christmas tradition to start with your family. (Shameless plug.)

The director asked if I would like to be in the show this year, which would totally have fulfilled #4 on the bucket list, "Perform in community theater," but I turned down the opportunity. This is kind of a big deal for Mo, and I'm sure she wouldn't be too thrilled to have me on her stage.

But before you start patting me on the back for my generous sacrifice for the sake of my baby, just know that there is not even a tiny part of me that wants to share a stage with Miss South Carolina while I'm pretending to be a duck in a feather-covered tutu.

Photo courtesy of Dave Hoefler
I'll pass on this one, thank you very much.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jack

"I love my son and am proud of my son."

--Robert H. Schuller

Today I wish my precious first-born a happy eleventh birthday.

Dearest Jack, your smile lights up my life.

You are a worrier . . . 

Competitor . . .
Jokester . . .

Big brother . . .


You are compassionate . . .

Sensitive . . .

Beautiful (I know you hate when I say that, but it's true) . . .


You are a challenge . . .

A joy . . .

My partner-in-crime . . .

My son.

I love you, buddy. Happy birthday. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Forgive and Forget

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool."

--Isaiah 1:18

My Mo had a little issue at school. Without going into a lot of details that would embarrass her, I'll tell you that she reacted poorly to a situation. She hurt a friend. And she immediately felt sorry for her actions, so she confessed to the teacher and apologized to her friend. Her fanny wasn't even buckled in the back seat after school before she tearfully relayed the whole story to me.

Okay, I thought, here is one of those teachable moments you read about handed to me on a silver-plated platter.

We talked about what she had done and why it was wrong. I praised her for taking responsibility for her actions. I prayed with her as she asked Jesus for forgiveness, and we talked about grace and having our sins washed clean.

I got home, patted myself on the back for a mommy job well done, and went on with my life. I even giggled about the situation as I shared the story with her grandmother.

But Mo continued to beat herself up over her error in judgment. She cried, wanted to write an official notarized letter of apology to her friend, fretted over whether her mistake was bad enough to land her on Santa's naughty list, tearfully prayed every night and apologized to me over and over and over . . .

That was about four days ago, and she is still talking about it. 

I keep telling her that if we confess and ask forgiveness, we can forget it. God doesn't hold our mistakes against us. I've hugged her tight and talked it out. And I've had a hard time understanding why she can't let it go.

But I'm guilty of the exact same thing.

I beat myself up over the same things over and over again. Things that I've confessed and prayed about. Things I know I've been forgiven for. But I can't seem to forgive myself.

What does that say?

Guilt is such a powerful thing. I know it is a tool used by the enemy to drive a wedge in my relationship with God. I know this.

I am a fairly forgiving person by nature. So why is it so hard to forgive myself?

How do you deal with guilt? Is guilt just as bad as the behavior that caused it?

I'm not sure, but I better pull it together. My children are watching my example. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

It's Been a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

"Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward." 
--Kurt Vonnegut 

It hasn't been the best week. I'm sure some of it had to do with the fact that I've got a sinus thing happening. And I'm sure some more of it had to do with the fact that my husband is in Tokyo eating sushi, while I am here . . . also eating sushi . . . except mine came from the grocery store.

It's all been downhill from there.

So . . . I need to start working on a new check on the ol' bucket list.
Yes, a check. Like this one.
Any thoughts?

I need to be working toward something. I need something to look forward to. And no, I'm not quite ready to tackle the skydiving thing.

So, whaddya think? Is there anything you, my loyal readers (all both of you), would like to see me tackle next? Something on the list? Or something maybe I haven't thought of yet?

I need a challenge. Help me out. Until I hear from you, I'll be cleaning. And that's no fun.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

An Invitation . . . A Plea . . . to My Facebook Friends

"Social networking helps reach people easier and quicker."

--Bill Cosby

I have decided that I am a prisoner to Facebook. And it doesn't have anything to do with the Timeline, which I hate. There's just too much going on there. Between the apps and the games and the pictures and the political manifestos, it's just too much. I can't get to the info I need.

I log in to Facebook wanting to find out whose kids are in what grade, who's getting married/divorced, who's having babies, who died, and who got fat. And I want to be able to send a quick message to groups of people easily. That's pretty much it.

I want to break up with Facebook, but it's the social medium that most of my friends use. I'm stuck. I want to stay connected to my people. As soon as the majority of my friends are on Twitter and/or Instagram, I am leaving Facebook forever.

So, please, people, I am begging: Join me on Twitter and/or Instagram. It's so happy on Twitter. You can look through 5,000 tweets in a few minutes, 'cause they're only 140 characters. If you have something to say that takes more characters than that, send an email, start a blog. You don't have to read what your first-grade teacher's niece's dog has done unless you really want to. If you have something important to say, link to it, and then whoever wants to read it is free to do so. On Instagram, you can post and view all the pictures your precious little heart desires. And if you love Facebook, you can link your accounts to Facebook, and all your info travels from one app to the next seamlessly.

It's all so polite.

I don't usually rant on things. Maybe it's the cloudy weather, maybe it's the fact that I have the sniffles. I love staying in touch with friends young and old. I just don't want to do it on Facebook anymore. <crosses arms across chest and pouts>

My media of choice are Twitter ( and Instagram (

Please, join me. We have candy.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Love Letter

"I'm just writin' about my little ol' love affair."

--Merle Haggard

My love,

How I have missed you these long summer months! It seemed time stood still as I waited for the day we could be together again.

I've missed your intoxicating scent, the way you make me smile, the way you make me feel about myself. I miss the way passers-by comment on how great we look together and the warmth you provide as you gently caress my calf.

You give me the confidence to tackle the day and walk just a bit taller.

Oh, boots! Labor Day is just a few days a way. If we can just survive the weekend, you can quit hiding in the closet and we can be together again.

I'll be counting down the seconds.

All my love,

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I Have a Secret

"Whoever wishes to keep a secret must hide the fact that he possesses one." 
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

I have officially reached the end of my rope with clutter.

Shhhh, don't tell the kids, but tomorrow while they are enjoying their first day back to school, I'm going around the house with a garbage bag and throwing away all of their stuff that is not where it should be. 

Giggle, giggle, snort.

Monday, August 13, 2012

My Not-on-the-Bucket-List Bucket List

"Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me."
--Carl Sandburg

My daring leap into the river from a train trestle, which was not on my bucket list, led me to consider all of the things I've done in my life that were probably bucket-list-worthy (or at least kinda cool), if only I had known to plan for them.

Here's a taste:

- Went white-water rafting
- Toured the Ben & Jerry's factory in Vermont
- Reported for and anchored a live, daily television newscast
- Was a reporter/anchor/producer for a live radio broadcast
- Spent a day with a homeless person
- Pitched for a state championship softball team:
I'm on the bottom row, far right.

- Accompanied police on several ride-alongs and on a drug bust

- Interviewed the tour bus driver for the Smashing Pumpkins
- Gave a eulogy at the funeral of a loved one
- Got my belly button pierced . . . twice

- Married my Stephen:
My Stephen and me

- Spent an afternoon riding along with a cab driver while a cab driver killer was on the loose
- Directed a wedding
- Started my own business
- Graduated with honors
- Emceed a pageant
- Made two children:
Pretty cute, yes?
- Taught myself Web design after accepting a job that required Web design skills
- Went on a Disney cruise
- Had entire digestive tract checked twice in a month's time. Okay, I probably wouldn't have wanted this, but it happened . . . so I'll roll with it.
- Was in the courtroom to report on the U.S. Air trial (U.S. Air Flight 1016)

- Was the top of a cheerleader pyramid:
Cheerleader days

- Was in the courtroom for a double murder trial and its penalty phase (and was asked out by the defendant's cousin. I politely declined.) The defendant was found guilty and was given the death penalty, which I reported live on the air.
- Ate escargot
- Swam at Atlantis in the Bahamas

- Swam with dolphins in the wild

- Saw a bald eagle in the wild
- Met skateboarder Tony Hawk and actress Tiffany Thornton (of Disney Channel fame):
Tony Hawk

- Fed a lion a rabbit on an overnight trip to the zoo
- Ate monkey food . . . not my proudest moment
- Sipped a fruity beverage out of a coconut
- Got a tattoo . . . in a bony location that is less likely to sag than others. Pretty smart, huh?
- Won a crown in a pageant:
Big hair, big smile . . . yep, that's a pageant.

- Formed and currently direct an adult church theater group
- Coached an athlete for the Special Olympics
- Took clogging and performed in the recital . . .  but I didn't have to wear one of those flouncy skirts. I wore red overalls instead.
- Own a hairless cat:
Sassy Cat

- Ate lobster in Maine

- Went snorkeling/saw a coral reef and barracuda

- Finished college early, with a double major

Now, tell me, what have you done that would have been on your bucket list, if only you had known it were possible?