Monday, May 31, 2010

Thank A Soldier Today

Today is Memorial Day if you hadn’t already noticed that.

This year, as I have done for a number of years, I will spend time praying for our military. I will spend time specifically praying for several servicemen that I know who are putting themselves in harms way so that I can be safe here in my country. For my college roommate Susan’s son Matt who serves in the Marines. For my cousin Clint who just graduated from the Air Force Academy (GOOD JOB CLINTO!!!) and for my friend Anne’s nephew who this week was wounded in Afghanistan.

Take the time today, or any day for that matter, and thank a solder. HHBL will tell you that I do this whenever I see a serviceman or woman in the airport. Or wherever I happen to be. They have earned the right to have my complete gratitude. And they have it.

And I will take the time to read The Gettysburg Address. I couldn’t say it any better than Abraham Lincoln did. And I would probably need more words:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great Civil War, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate - we can not consecrate- we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

There She Goes Again with the Car Race

Do you know what today is?
Do Ya?
Yeah, yeah it is Sunday. It is the day before Memorial Day. It is….
Oh yes it is.
I can’t seem to get over my love. We have been together for so long, since I was 9 years old. We have walked many miles together. We have seen many things….
Mario Andretti’s first and only win at Indy. And my first time to attend the race.
Rick Mear’s first of four wins.
We have seen crashes together, a fire filled one right in front of us that I think Pilot Man has on film somewhere. We have seen drunken bacchanalias, bathrooms full of people and other things, more cars and campers and people in one place then you could possibly imagine.
We have heard the roar of the crowd and the unimaginable loudness of the engines as the cars scream by.
We have thrilled with sitting just at the entrance to the pits, an awesome place to be when the Pace Car pulls off and the racers go for the gusto.
We have heard Jim Neighbors sing “Back Home in Indiana”. Not my favorite song, not my favorite singer but you have to go with tradition.
I have taken a tour of the speedway and taken a turn around the track. Now that was COOL. And lest you worry, no I wasn’t behind the wheel although my children and HHBL sometimes wonder if perhaps I am training for Indy with my car speed.
Indy and I we are old and fast friends. We cannot be parted.
These days I sit in my family room and watch in comfort. I have to tell you that I enjoy that. My bathroom is right close by. I can get up and get something to eat or drink and I don’t have to deal with crowds.
HHBL can tell you that I REALLY don’t like huge crowds of people. They make me antsy and I just want them to all go home. And there are LOTS of people who will be at Indy Speedway today. The Speedway doesn’t ever publish exactly how many people attend the race but it is close to half a million….yes I said half a MILLION people between the infield and the permanent stands. That is a lot of people.
Maybe by next years race I will have found some pictures from our various trips to Indy. There are some lovely ones somewhere at the parental units house.
On a personal level I will be rooting for Helio Castroneves. If he can win today he will enter an elite group, those Indy Car drivers who have won four races: A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.
So Ladies and Gentlemen……..
Start Your Engines!!

Edit: I realize that I spelled Jim Nabors name incorrectly. So sorry.

Friday, May 28, 2010

7 Quick Takes (Vol 71)



As a knitter there is sometimes a struggle for me between my perfectionism and my WIP’s (works in progress for the non-knitter). My perfectionism tells me that I must finish every project and that it should be, well, perfect. The other part of me, the knitter, understands that sometimes you just have to throw up your hands and send something back to the frog pond.

Even if you are 3/4 of the way through the project.

Even if you have one of the socks done already.

Yes, I think that this pair of socks
img_6261 is about to take a trip back to the frog pond. I love the yarn, the Arucaunia is excellent. But I really don’t love the socks. And I take my hand knit socks very seriously.  We were talking about these socks Monday night at knitting. They are just not right and I don’t want to look at them in the sock drawer and not want to wear them.


This week has sort of been “get back into the swing of life” week and I am not there yet. We have been out of town so much in the past 6 weeks that everything is just discombobulated around here. Maybe next week will be better. My house needs to be cleaned. I have work that is piling up. There are weeds that have started to govern their own country and I need to do some ironing.

Of course next week we have house guests and a family wedding. Life just never stops.

I did laundry on Thursday and I was totally freaked every time I started a load. I kept looking at that darn knob to make sure that it was in the right place and not in knob “no man’s land” where it doesn’t know when to stop putting water in.

Sort of like me when confronted with a bowl full of Kalamata olives.

Or not.

We have had unseasonably warm weather this week, in the upper 80’s during the day and it just feels like Summer. And when it is like that then my entire psyche says that I must sit and read a good book all day or at least part of the day. Preferably with a big glass of tea, unsweetened, by my side and no cell phone in sight.

That is what I spent most of my summers doing when I was growing up. Reading. I remember going to the library and bringing back books. When I was old enough and had some money to spend I would buy books at the Walden Books at the mall. I even bought books at the Ben Franklin by my parents cottage. And I read anything that I could get my hands on.

And every year, right about this time of the year I feel the urge to just read and read and read. I feel the urge to re-read The Lord of the Rings and Anne of Green Gables. I feel the urge to read fiction.

And the sad thing is, because I now have an adult brain (I do, REALLY) I think that I can’t just do that. I can’t just chuck all the mundane things of life and sit and read. It seems, somehow, like I am wasting time and shirking my duties around the house and yard.

I am trying mightily to get over this and just read for hours on end.

Remember “So Many Books, So Little Time”.

And speaking of reading, what is everyone reading for the summer? And why is it that many of us focus so much on summer reading? Do we not read the rest of the year?

Sorry, rabbit trail. So, at the moment, I am continuing to read Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain. I have been reading this for what seems like forever. It really is good but is one of those books that you can’t just pick up and read a bit and then put down. You have to have sustained reading time. I am also reading The Stars in Their Courses by Shelby Foote. Just started that one but I do love Shelby Foote and reading about the Civil War. I am also thinking that I need to have something light fiction wise but am not sure yet what that will be.

I do have a bunch of fiction waiting to be read but I may stop all and read The Lord of the Rings for the umpteenth time. For many years I read it every summer. But then life intruded and children came and well, it has probably been 5 years.

I am totally addicted to this stupid game that I now have on the ibrick (so called because the wifi currently doesn’t work on it). The dumb game is Scoops and it is really all TNGB’s fault. He and Shoe Queen played it all the time on the way to and from the wedding last week. They made me get it for the ibrick. MADE ME I tell you. And now I just want to play. The premise of the game is that you start out with an empty sugar cone and try to catch the scoops of ice cream and avoid the veggies.



I was playing it at 5:45a this morning for the love of Pete.

But it is so darn fun!

I have joined another knitting forum, this one in Beta testing at the moment. How many of these things can I participate in and still have time for daily life. I am firmly committed to Ravelry of course but this particular site was founded by some former Ravelry friends who were asked to leave that site, hmmmm, not really asked to leave but banned. Too long a story to go into and I never agreed with the banning though I understand why Casey et al did it.

There is never enough info on knitting to satisfy me. And I love having the connection to other knitters. AND, I saw that a high school friend is also there for the beta testing. So many connections.

I wonder, is there a similar kind of place for readers of books? I bet there is and I just haven’t found it yet.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend everyone and remember, if you see a soldier, thank them for their service. I do.

"Men sleep peacefully in their beds at night
because rough men stand ready
to do violence on their behalf."  George Orwell

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Let’s Have a Wedding Shall We!

I will say in advance that this will be a long post with many pictures.

Please tell me that you are not surprised by this.

I had intended to actually cover the events of the day in two posts but due to the unfortunate indoor waterfall incident I have decided to just go for the gusto and give you one big wedding post. It seems more fitting to do that somehow.
So go and grab a cup of the elixir of life and plant your behind in the chair for some wedding festivities.
It seemed like we had been thinking about the wedding and talking about it an planning for it for so long and then, all of a sudden, it was upon us.
img_6527 The day started off fairly early with breakfast, cooked by Mimi, who spent the week feeding the multitudes (thanks mom!). All too quickly it was time for TEO and I to hop in the car and go to have her hair and makeup done.
img_6544A Going from this……
img_6568 To this lovely creation….
img_6536 Requires the use of many, many of these. Watching the stylist do TEO’s hair was like watching someone build a building. Very architectural.
img_6589A Then there was time in the make up chair. This girl was an artist. Seriously! She was mixing things and applying things. I was fascinated.
img_6593 Voila! The finished product. And a beautiful one it was. That hair was not going ANYWHERE.

Then it was on to the church to do the actual “getting ready” part of the day. We hung around for a bit, I watched the girls all working on their hair. There was a lot of curling iron and straightener action going on and I just tried to stay out of the way.

I practiced walking in these….
img_6272_thumb2                                 The Shoes of Eventual Phalanges Death.
They are lovely but……after awhile I was wondering if I had perhaps lost my toes to frostbite sometime back because I sure couldn’t feel them. Aw who needs toes anyways when your shoes are so awesome.
img_6607 We ordered several of these. The bridesmaids were very hungry. I know these girls and when they are hungry they need to be fed NOW. And we didn’t want anyone fainting. Oh if only the groomsmen had thought the same thing……

And then it was time.

Everyone was in the sanctuary. The grandmothers and mothers had been seated. The unity candle had been lighted. The bridesmaids had successfully navigated their way down the aisle. The flower girl and ring bearer had made it all the way to TASiL and been rewarded with candy. Emmie took her position as flower girl VERY seriously and methodically threw flowers out of her basket.

I stood up so that everyone else would stand up. Did you know this? That the mother of the bride has to start the whole standing up when the bride appears thing. If Jen, the wedding coordinator, hadn’t told me that it was my job to stand up first we would still be sitting there and wondering when things would get going. How come I didn’t know this?
img_6614 This is TASiL’s face when first seeing TEO. How sweet is that.
img_6615 Sorry for the quality of the picture. I might have been smiling a lot and shedding one or two tears at this point so I wasn’t paying too much attention to the camera and the metering. Oops.
img_6624A May I present Josh and Meghan Cutherell. They will now be known as The Married One and The Son-in-Law (TMO and TSiL).

And then it was on to the reception where we tried to get over the fainting groomsman, yes, rolling eyes back in head and having to be helped to the floor and all that. The minister didn’t break stride and the ceremony just kept right on.
img_6643AWhat you can’t see is that it was raining. Not hard but drizzly. They didn’t get too many pictures outside.
img_6647AWe spent the evening eating really good food, visiting with family and friends, eating wedding cake (Oh how I love Buttercream frosting and vanilla wedding cake. I.LOVE.IT), snacking on the candy buffet. Man, once people knew what all that candy was for they just grazed and grazed and filled up their little bags. I still had a ton of candy to take home.

There were speeches (one given by yours truly), poetry written by the father of the groom, a video presentation put together by HHBL (it was AWESOME) and the progeny even gave  a 25th anniversary tribute to HHBL and I. It was so sweet and full of inside jokes that made others scratch their heads in confusion but made those in the know laugh hilariously.

And then there was dancing

Oh boy was there dancing.

And then, finally the last song was played, TMO and TSiL left, we cleaned up, went back home and collapsed into bed.

And a good time was had by all.

But I don’t want to do this again for a few more years at least.

Well not unless one of the other progeny can manage to plan a wedding on the beach in Hawaii. I am all up for that.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Own Private Waterfall

Pardon me while I take a moment out of talking about the wedding to tell you about my day yesterday.

Where rain fell from the sky….

or from the ceiling…….

And for a time, I had my own private Niagra Falls in my house. I thought about selling tickets.

The day started out like many others around here. I had a list of tasks a mile long that I was hoping to get accomplished starting with the laundry.

Put in a load of whites. Put in the earbuds for my ipod. Start to work on the computer…..

I had been cranking out work long enough to have run through one podcast and started another, about 30 minutes I would guess, when I figured that I would fold the load of laundry in the dryer, put the wet clothes in to dry and start another load in the washer.

My office sits right across from the laundry room, there is a small tiled back hallway between. I exited my office…

Heeeeeeeeeey, is that water on my floor? Is that FLOWING water on my floor? Is that a river extending from my laundry room through my back hall and into my kitchen!!!!


I could hear the washing machine filling with water. But that couldn’t be right because I had started the load about 30 minutes before and it shouldn’t take that long to fill….

Poopy, poopy, double poopy, triple poopy!

I slosh into the laundry room and this is what I see. Please ignore any underwear that might be in there.
img_6682 The washer is FULL and the water is overflowing onto the floor. And the water is flowing into the washer. I managed to get the water to stop but after that the washer was dead. Stone dead. And there was water still flowing out of it onto the floor. Hot water.

And then for a short period of time I had what I can only describe as a break with reality. A chicken with it’s head cut off moment.

Sort of like a opossum in the middle of the road when the headlights strike it moment. Slooooooow moooooootion wwwwwwwwwhat doooooooo I doooooooo??????


No, there aren’t enough towels in the world to soak up all this water.

Wet/dry vacuum! Yes, that’s what I need. I rush out to the garage but it isn’t where I normally put it. I am a creature of habit and I always put the big vac in the same place. In reality it WAS right where it was supposed to be, I was just blinded by panic and didn’t see it.

I ran back inside and then ran back out to the garage where I found the vacuum right where it was supposed to be. I lugged it into the house, snagging the cord on the way and almost tripping myself up. Plugged it in, hoping not to electrocute myself in the process and started to suck up the water. I did this for several minutes, getting up a bunch of the water that had flowed onto the floor.

And then a thought struck me. A terrible thought. An awful thought……

The basement!


So, I go ripping down stairs and about half way to the basement I can hear water. A lot of water. A waterfall of water.

I don’t think that sound is supposed to come from my basement.

And this is what I see

img_6685 Can you see the inch of water that is swirling around on the floor? Oh yes, and there was a literal waterfall of lovely warm water that was cascading down from the ceiling right onto a computer and boxes and furniture.

Oh. Joy.

img_6686 And it was flowing from here. This picture was taken after the actual waterfall had slowed to a slow bwip, bwip, bwip. But just take my word for it when I tell you that it was thundering down like Niagra Falls. I expected to see someone go over it in a barrel.

And then I had another short break with reality and said some things that cannot be repeated on this family blog.

The dog was so frightened by the whole experience that he just didn’t know where to go to hide. His normal practice is to hide in his crate, but that wasn’t a safe place as it was in the water danger zone. And I was running back and forth trying to decide what to do so he just retreated to the front hallway for a time.

I called HHBL and I am not sure if I was totally coherent or not but the just of what I told him was, “Get your cute butt back home cuz the creek is risin’ and we need to get to higher ground!” Ummmmm, sorry, I don’t think that is what I actually said but it is close.

And so, the rest of our day was filled with this….
img_6688 And several trips to Wally Mart for fans and more fans and a Coke (cuz I needed it!) and some boxes, and some more boxes, and several plastic boxes.

img_6689 And there might have been some of this going on. Thank goodness that it was a sunny, hot and not windy day so that we could put all of this stuff out on the driveway to dry and go through.

img_6690 And there might have been some boxes that got wet. This is just a very small portion of the boxes that are now waiting to go to the garbage. Of course, yesterday was garbage day but they had already picked everything up before the great water debacle.

Oh, and the BEST part was what caused all of this chaos.

Oh yes.

I called my appliance repair people and I was very happy to hear that they could send someone out that very afternoon. Yipee! Dave arrived around 4p to look at the offending washer.

He labored and poked and prodded and got out his little computer thingydo. And after a short time this is what he told me…

Dave: Well, you see this knob here, the one that you turn to pick the size load you are washing?

Me: Yes.

Dave: Well, it seems like it wasn’t turned all the way to medium or to large. It only got turned half way and the washer didn’t know to turn off. It was in sort of no man’s land. Seems to be working fine now. That will be $137 please.

Yes, I have again given some repair man a tale to take back to the office. I have given laughter and joy and money for something that I might have been able to figure out on my own.

My work here is done.

Well, all except for all the boxes that need to be put back down in the basement.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Weddings Need A Lot of Practice and Then You Eat

You can’t just wing these things you know, you have to practice the whole walking down the aisle and when do the bridesmaids enter and what to do with the flower girl. It is a good thing that we had a wedding coordinator for the church because chaos might have taken full reign otherwise. Especially considering there were eight, count ‘em, eight bridesmaids and eight groomsmen. A crowd in every sense of the word. Jen kept us moving and on target.

img_6451AHHBL finally gets a son! And we didn’t have to raise him, Nancy and Luke did that and quite well.

img_6458A  It is wonderful to see the close relationship that TASiL (name change comes with Thursday’s post) has with his father and brothers.

img_6454A This is TEO’s flower girl, Emmie. She is the sweetest thing ever. You just want to squeeze her. She took her job very seriously.

img_6455Avery wasn’t too sure about his role as ring bearer. It is a gigantic responsibility, even though we weren’t letting the actual rings anywhere near him. But…….we got candy involved in the whole affair and that assured that Avery would walk down the aisle.

img_6478 img_6479 img_6482 TASiL was supplied with candy and the kids knew that if they successfully completed their mission that they would be rewarded.

Bribery, the American way.

img_6469 Told you, LOTS of bridesmaids and groomsmen. We could have populated a small city.

img_6486 Here Comes the Bride!

img_6492A Can you guess which one of these sets of feet belong to The Shoe Queen?

img_6493AOh yes, Alison the maid of honor is paying close attention to the instructions. She is a good girl. MY progeny are spending their time making faces at me.

 img_6488 img_6471 After several runs through it looked like we all had it down pat. I didn’t have too big a roll. Nancy and I just had the light the unity candle and not cry too loudly. We were stellar in our parts, stellar I say!

Then it was time to eat!! TEO and TASiL wanted to have the rehearsal dinner at the Indian restaurant where they had their first date.

Awwwwwwwwwwww, isn’t that sweet.

It also helps that TASiL speaks Hindi and Urdu but that is just icing on the cake. I never have to worry when we eat at an Indian restaurant because he can order for me! He has done it before and I loved what he ordered. But then I adore Indian food.


Shiver with excitement.

img_6511 Cartoon Girl and I got bored while we were waiting for the order to attack the buffet.

Boredom + Camera + Starvation = Very scary pictures.

There are several more in this vein but I don’t want you to leave forever…

You won’t will you?


img_6518FINALLY it was time to go through the buffet. Can I tell you how much I love Indian food. There were Vegetable Samosas and Paneer and Lamb and rice and NAAN!!! I had more than my fair share of naan. I could eat it all day long and into the night.

I would run away with the Naan if I didn’t like HHBL so much.

img_6522 TASiL’s family all wore their Pakistani and Indian finery.

The rest of us looked REALLY boring in comparison. I will not even put up pictures because…

We were boring.

img_6524 TASiL and his brothers. The young fellow with the glasses is TASiL’s twin brother TFD (remember, The Future Doctor). TFD likes to remind all of us that TASiL is the younger brother (by two minutes). Oh those boys.

img_6514 Oh fine, one more picture if you promise not to run screaming into the night.

You promise right?



Tomorrow: Beautifying!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lets Talk About Weddings

Sooooooooo, what did you do this weekend Debbie?

Welllllllll, I think we had a wedding in the family. Yes, I think we did.

img_6617BThis is just a teaser photo really. We packed a bunch of stuff into a few days and it is just too much for one post.

So, I am thinking, lets build the suspense shall we. Lets see what led up to the big day. A wedding doesn’t happen all in one day, first there is an engagement, then there is the shopping for the wedding dress. It takes months of planning and then all of a sudden the big day is upon you.

But  before the big day there were other days filled with other things. There were manicures and pedicures. There was LOTS of eating of many different things. There were rehearsals and hair and make up and family and moving stuff and…….I am tired just thinking about it.

Every bride and her bridesmaids need to have manicures and pedicures. We suggested that this might be fun and Mimi (my mom) took that and made the whole experience a great one for all of us. She did all the prep work.

img_6399 9am might have been a tad early for some of the girls but everyone managed to be on time. Of course, half of them were staying at Mimi and Papa’s house….there were 14 of us there, sharing 2.5 bathrooms.

But that story is for another time.

img_6401 Egads all the colors! How to make a decision. The possibilities are endless. Of course, it is really an easy decision when all the bridesmaids save one decided to have French manicures. That makes the color picking really easy…white.

img_6403 Cartoon Girl thought that some color might be better for her. This seemed to suit her.

img_6407AWhat is that woman doing taking pictures of herself in the mirror. Look away, don’t let her see you staring at her.

img_6409A  We are all smiling because we have our feet in lovely, hot, bubbling water. Oh it was delicious.

img_6412Oh this was an interesting addition to the experience. You sat in the chair and put your feet in the swirling water and relaxed. Then, if you wanted, the chair would give you a massage. See up at the top, there is a little button that says “Auto”. Oh that was the magic button. Press that and the chair massaged you ALL OVER. In places that you didn’t know could or perhaps should be massaged.

img_6413AThe Maid of Honor has just discovered that the chair has magic fingers in interesting places.

img_6414 Brystal is planning her courtship and marriage to Prince William. Princess Brystal has a wonderful ring to it don’t you think.

img_6415A I am sorry. I have ugly toes. It is just the way it is. But I love my toe rings. Oh I love them so.

img_6420Red nail polish? I think I will!

img_6416A Before the nail polish some “toescaping” needed to take place. This is so not a job that I would ever want to have, cleaning up other peoples toes.

img_6423A Oh yes, little short stubby toes with red nail polish. These will look excellent with the shoes of death that I will be wearing.

img_6427 And the fingernails had to be red too. There are no pictures of the manicure process because, well, it is difficult to take those pictures when you are soaking your hands. At least I couldn’t figure out how to do it. And the staff at the nail place were already thinking I was a tad “off”. I didn’t want to scare them any further.

And then, after we were all done beautifying it was time for LUNCH! We had all put in such work and we were starving. So it was off to the local Thai place for something yummy.

img_6437 Oh I am so going to have to figure out how to make this soup. It was sort of a Thai Ginger soup with all sorts of veggies in it. It had a bit of zing to it and a lot of ginger and it was totally yummy.

img_6440 The maid of honor thinking about her wedding, which happens in about 5 weeks or so. We can hardly wait!

img_6441I don’t remember the name of what I ordered but it was delicious. Can you see all the slices of jalapeno pepper in there. I ordered it with “medium” spice and it certainly was that. Not too spicy but certainly not mild. And I ate the entire thing using only my chopsticks…I didn’t say I didn’t it with great skill but I did it. My chopstick skills are getting better but I still occasionally grip something and flinging it into space rather than placing it in my mouth. Sigh.

And then we went home to recover and get ready for the next event…..

Next up tomorrow: “Weddings Need A Lot of Practice and Then You Eat”