Thursday, January 31, 2008

All good things must come to an end...

Well my participation in the Citizen of the Month Great Interview Experiment is officially over. Thanks Neil for a great idea! Will of Be the Boy was given the daunting task of interviewing me based on what he read in my blog. He asked some great questions, and I rambled on and on as usual in my answers. You can check out my ramblings here! And just because the fun is over for me doesn't mean it is for you. You can sign up to participate by clicking the link above! You, too, are a somebody!

What the...?

Are you serious? I clicked the nice little box to see what my blog was rated and this is the rating they came up with. Why you might wonder. I did. Their reasons...I used the word "poop" three times and the word "hurt" once. Good grief. It's a good thing I didn't say @*#$!!!

I Will Always Be Your Friend

Really...no explanation needed...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Piling Up

I have piles of stuff that are driving me crazy on several pieces of furniture in my house. I have been through the piles and sorted them out...making smaller piles so that I can put the things where they belong, but that is where I always stop. The smaller piles sit around for a few days and then are gathered back up into one pile and moved off of the dining room table so we can eat. I mean we have to eat, right? Many things in the piles aren't even mine. Actually I can safely say that most of it isn't mine. And I hate piles. I just need to get motivated to do something about it.

The pile that I am observing from the safety of my chair consists of a dictionary, a pencil sharpener, a bag with some of Brian's stuff in it, a stack of pictures, a pile of business cards, a paper from our building supervisor that says something important (I'm sure) in Turkish, a dvd, a little baggie of Christmas candy, a sleeve for Brian's nano, a notebook, a book of matches, several computer game cases, a Black Sea travel guide, a painted pine cone, a pocket knife, a flash drive, a half-painted paint-by-numbers picture as well as several other things I am unable to identify from my seat. Seriously. I can claim the dvd. I can also claim the flash drive. I will claim the book of matches since I am the candle obsessed one in the family. The rest...well I didn't use it or get it out or put it there. So here I sit...sending dirty looks in the general direction of that pile...wishing for the power to move things with my mind...and break my chi barrier. Um...whatever that is.

*I don't believe in anything chi...just in case there are those of you out there who really wondered.

Monday, January 28, 2008

How to care for your pet.

Years ago...in my former life...I taught kindergarten. I taught in a small school district where I was the only kindergarten teacher. I had no curriculum so I had to really rely on all those teacher training classes I took in college! Each week I chose a theme and then planned all of the lessons that week accordingly. One week we would study apples. The math lesson might be about whole and halves. The science lesson about seeds. The letter of the week would be an A. You get the idea.

Well, one week we were studying pets. One day that week for our science/social studies lesson I brought in a bag filled with all kinds of things you would use to take care of a pet. Bowls for food and water. Brushes to comb their hair. Shampoo to give them baths. A collar and leash to use on walks. A baggie of catnip to keep them happy, etc. As I held up each of the different items I would ask the kids if they knew what it was. Most of the time they had no trouble telling me what the item was and what it was used for. They did have trouble telling me what the nail clippers were, but most of them had probably never seen a dog or a cat gets it's toenails clipped. After going through all the other items in my pet care bag I held up the baggie of catnip and asked what they thought it was. One little boy without hesitation and without raising his hand called out "weed". I just about died. I stammered all over myself trying to figure out what to say to that. I honestly don't remember what I said. I'm sure it was something wise and educational though! I just couldn't believe that he knew what weed was. He certainly couldn't have known it was illegal or else he surely wouldn't have been so quick to speak up. And now he thinks his teacher brought marijuana to school. Oh my. I talked to my principal later that day so that if she got any phone calls about the teacher who brought drugs to school she would know how to handle them. And the next year I didn't include catnip in my bag of tricks!

And now a question. How do you explain catnip to a 6 year old who knows what weed is? Basically catnip is weed for cats. Here is what Wikipedia says about it...

When cats sense the bruised leaves or stems of catnip, they may roll over it, paw at it, chew it, lick it, leap about and purr, often salivating copiously. Some cats will also growl and meow.

Yeah...it's pretty much drugs for cats.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Which of these kids is not like the others?

From Anna Grace

This is Anna Grace. I am 8 years old. I have a best friend named Abby. She is very nice. I also have a best friend named Konnar. He is very nice, too. I have 17 people in my class. There's this girl who lives right under me named Mollie. She is very nice, too too. I love my family. And Daddy is being really weird. He is saying, "she loves her family. she loves her family." It's getting very annoying. I have a brother named Will and another brother named Jacob. I have a sister named Erica. My mom's name is Mommy. My dad's name is Daddy. I have two cats named Daisy and Pugly. They are very nice cats. Except Pugly scraped my ear. And it bled. A few days ago I had strep throat. My mom is typing this, not me. We're watching The Incredible Hulk.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The great interview experiment.

While looking at blogs of strangers this past week I came across this post by Neil of Citizen of the Month. In it he talks about the common blogger being overlooked, and how everyone who blogs is a somebody even if said blogger isn't the most eloquent writer. So he proposed an experiment. Anyone who comments on his post has the chance to interview and be interviewed by a fellow blogger. I was intrigued so I signed up. Here is my interview of fringes. Her blog is co-written with her boyfriend, Q, and is quite entertaining. Stop by for a closer look. Now on with the questions...

You say you are done with the fiction portion of your writing career and are now concentrating on nonfiction. Was there a certain experience that made you decide this or did you just decide you sucked as a fiction author?

Even as a young writer, I’ve always gotten more positive responses to my essays than to my fiction pieces. As I was exposed to more writers, particularly short story writers, I began to realize sometime around 35 years old that there are people out there who are much better fiction writers than I could ever hope to be, but that as essayists go, I am not yet among the delusional. In that genre, there still lies hope for me. I’m giving it a go, starting with, yep, the blog.

You mentioned that your daughter has recently had scoliosis surgery as well as tendon release surgery. And something about a brain injury when she was young. How did you handle her limitations and what did you learn from all of it? She looks like a pretty well adjusted kid!

“Something about a brain injury…” That gives me the giggles. That “something” has taken over my life, and I am okay with that. She is well adjusted because she is treated like any other kid with a loving family. We handled her limitations by not letting her think she has any.

Do you have any Christmahanukwanzaakah traditions you currently observe or any that you would like to start? Love that holiday by the way!

I cannot take credit for Christmahanukwanzaakah. I think it’s from a 2005 Best Buy commercial. We observe it by spending as much money in Best Buy as the law will allow. My family is a sucker for electronic gadgetry. If it beeps, we own it.

What do you consider the most important character traits you can pass down to your children?

Honesty, integrity and the gift/curse of being able to see the best in the worst kinds of people. The love of Crunch n’ Munch. The compulsion to attend every family function including recitals of second cousins twice removed playing Reggaeton Chopsticks on the electric banjo.

You’ve mentioned antidepressants and alcohol several times in your blog. Care to elaborate?

I’ve been prescribed antidepressants at the right time and at the not-so-right time. It was easier to swallow the drugs with vodka than with water: read the label, it says that. I’m not sure I have to elaborate much more for those who’ve been through something similar; they can relate to me and not feel so alone. For those who haven’t been through it, reading about it makes them feel better about their perfect lives. I’m a walking public service.

Why do you blog? And if you had to describe to a non-blogger what being a part of this big wonderful blogging community is like what would you say? (I stole this question from someone else. I loved it!)

I blog because I’m happy. I blog because I’m free. His eye is on the blogger, so I know he watches me. And it’s fun. I love writing the posts and filling the empty space. I love checking my email for comments and I am completely addicted to statistical analysis of visitors and most popular posts and heavy traffic days. I met the love of my life through blogging, so how can I have anything but love for it? Nonbloggers—meaning those who never read blogs—are weird. Or very busy. Like my sister.

I’ve read a little about your heritage in your blog. How were you influenced by your grandparents and parents and the decisions they made concerning their family?

Family has always come first in each generation of our family. It’s not fun being part of the constant grapevine sometimes (I need to call my mom and tell her nine out of ten bloggers agree: corn dogs are an acceptable part of a nutritious dinner), but we are always looking out for each other. Nephews are like sons and aunts like mothers. There is no other way for us.

When you were little what did you want to be when you grew up? Do you consider yourself grown up yet? What do you want to be when you grow up?

After being talked out of wanting to be a stripper when I was five (I loved being naked and strippers got paid to be naked), I decided to be a writer, maybe writing about naked people. I do consider myself to be a grown-up. Having two children will do that for you; somebody has to sign the medical release forms and the field trip permission slips.

Why the title “Where are the naked pictures”?

Q came up with it. He wanted an original title so that when it appeared in blogrolls and other places, people would stop and click. Who knew we’d be the first stop for kiddie porn in Internet searches, but we still like it. It’s original.

I have to ask something about Q! How often does he travel the 650 miles round trip to see you? When is the wedding? Did he give himself the title “Funniest man on the interwebs” (kinda like Michael Jackson called himself the “King of Pop” and nobody could really disagree) or do other people say that about him?

Q hits the road to Houston an average of twice a month. We had a streak of five or six weekends going for a while there, but that’s a lot of driving. Hopefully, he’ll be living nearby within a few months. We haven’t set a date for the wedding, but we’re talking about it. A blogger from our previous blogging community tagged him the funniest man on the Interwebs. However dubious the source, Q has run with it.

Remote Control

To answer Derya's question about what a remote control for my laptop is...I have decided to post a picture. Here is the remote sitting on the laptop. As you can tell it is quite small. My issues with this remote are as a follows.

1. My laptop screen is only 13 inches. Pretty small. If I am sitting far enough away from it to need a remote control then I am pretty sure I won't be able to actually see what is on the screen.
2. The small black dot at the bottom right corner of the laptop base is the receiver for the remote. In order to use the remote I have to hike my arm back while holding the remote so that it can send a signal to the black dot. Most of the time my hands are well within reach of the computer keyboard so picking up the remote and hiking my arm back is actually more work than just clicking the touchpad.
3. Am I really that lazy? (don't answer that!)

I will say this. The remote does great things with the screen as it peruses the album covers for my itunes music and movie options...something that I hadn't seen with just the mouse click feature.

I'm sure there are many of you out there who swear by this remote. I've already heard from two people who think it's great and use it all the time. Will I be one of you one day? We'll just have to wait and see.

Asure - Round 2

This morning another neighbor delivered her asure to us. Here is her version.

The red seeds on top are pomegranate fruit.

This is the fruitiest asure I have seen yet. It had peaches, oranges, figs, pomegranates, orange peel as well as garbanzo beans, navy beans, cracked wheat, cinnamon, and who knows what else. Brian ate a bowl. I didn't.

Something I couldn't resist...

While blog wandering yesterday, I found a cool way to answer life's questions on fringes blog. (I will be interviewing fringes in an upcoming blog post so stay tuned for that!)

Here’s how it works:

1. Put your iTunes on Shuffle

2. For each question, hit the next button to get your answer to the question

3. Write down that song name as your answer no matter what comes up in shuffle

Here are our answers:

How would you best describe your personality?

Me: "Isn't that Everything" by Danielle Peck

Brian's answer (because he said "do me"): "Above All" by Rebecca St. James

If someone says it’s okay, you say:

Me: "The Trouble with Love Is" by Kelly Clarkson

B: "I Come With Love" by Harry Connick Jr.

What do you like in a guy or girl?

Me: "Sunglasses at Night" by Corey Hart

B: "Like a Child" by Jars of Clay

How do you feel today?

Me: "Keep Movin'" by Grits

B: "Dive" by dc Talk

What is your life’s purpose?

Me: "Mama" by Third Day

B: "I'll Take Care of You" by the Dixie Chicks

What is your motto?

Me: "World on Fire" by Sarah McLachlan

B: "Missionary Man" by the Eurythmics (seriously was the answer!)

What do your friends think of you?

Me: "Now" by SheDaisy

B: "I Need You" by Jars of Clay

What do you think of your friends?

Me: "You've Got It (The Right Stuff)" by New Kids on the Block

B: "Blame it on the Boogie" by The Jacksons

What do your parents think of you?

Me: "A Girl's Gotta Do What a Girl's Gotta Do" by Mindy McCready

B: "Teenage Dirtbag" by Wheatus

What do you think of your parents?

Me: "Smooth Criminal" by Michael Jackson

B: "Rock this Town" by Stray Cats

What do you think about very often?

Me: "Breathe" by Rebecca St. James

B: "Breakdown" by Jack Johnson

What do you think of your best friend?

Me: "Roam" by the B52's

B: "I Know You Won't" by Carrie Underwood

What do you think of the person you love?

Me: "When I Think About Cheatin'" by Gretchen Wilson (really...it's what came up...)

B: "When We Were Still in Love" by Trisha Yearwood

What is your life’s story?

Me: "Repent" by SheDaisy

B: "Stay for A While" by Amy Grant

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Me: "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker, Jr.

B: "History Maker" by Delirious (we cheated on this one because Jingle Bells was the original answer and we decided no Christmas songs so we clicked again)

What do you think when you see the person you love?

Me: "When You Walk in the Room" by Pam Tillis

B: "The More Boys I Meet" by Carrie Underwood

What is your hobby/interest?

Me: "I Will Remember You" by Amy Grant

B: "Verge of a Miracle" by Rich Mullins

What will they play at your funeral?

Me: "Too Late Medley" by Amy Grant

B: "Least Complicated" by Indigo Girls

What is your biggest secret?

Me: "Walk Away" by Kelly Clarkson

B: "Rain" by The Wreckers

It’s not officially a meme, but if you are feeling it, go for it. If you don’t have iTunes or some other digital music library, throw in your favorite mix tape and have at it. Come back and give me the link to your post in comments.

(oh...and i seem to have an overabundance of Rich Mullins, Rebecca St. James, Delirious, and several other groups on my itunes. this is because we purchased a used nano from a friend and it was filled with these songs. somehow in the synching of the ipods and nanos they were copied to my itunes list. i didn't do it. if it had just been my songs these would not have been options for my list. i'm just saying.) (ok...so i've now edited my post to not include any songs that i myself did not add to my itunes...because i wanted a true reflection of what my choices were. I just clicked until a song came up that was officially 'mine'. this is what happens when you have several people using the same itunes list. yeah...so i am anal...)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Here I sit...

I haven't left my house in days...and I mean days. We have been sick. First Erica, then Anna Grace, now me...and tonight Jacob went to bed early because he was feeling it. Geez...we are dropping like flies. 4 down, 2 to go.

So what have I been doing while I've been stuck in my house? (stuck is a relative term...i can leave anytime i want. just watch me. next week i am outta here. but until then...)

1. watching candles burn and wondering what the point is...my nose is so stopped up I can't even smell them

2. playing monopoly junior

3. watching the cats sleep

4. watching the laundry pile up

5. looking at my toenails that haven't been painted since Sept 29 (i know this to be an accurate date) and marveling that there is still some bit of polish on them

6. blowing my nose

7. watching arrested development

8. laying on my yoga mat, but not actually doing yoga

9. playing with the remote that came with my laptop and wondering who really needs one of these

10. watching it snow

11. playing my bongos

12. reading blogs of random people i don't know

That pretty much sums it up. Pretty much.


Daisy...because she was jealous of the attention Pugly received and the photo shoot Pugly participated in after laying around all day...decided to lay around all day today. She posed in various positions on various pieces of furniture begging me to take her picture all day long. After I finally gave in and gave her what she wanted she jumped down and is now licking herself in her nether regions. For real. (notice that she isn't even looking at the camera...pretending like i don't even exist...not giving me the time of day...after all that incessant begging. geesh.)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

true story

once upon a time i had a pedometer that had a reset button in just the right spot so that every time my arm moved past my hip i reset the darn thing. so i moved it to the middle of my belt and leaned on the counter to wash the dishes and reset the darn thing. then i moved it to a spot almost in the middle of my back, and when i tried to pull it off to see what it said i reset the darn thing. i'm sure the hissy fit i threw over the darn thing burned more calories than my actual walking did.


What Pugly, the cat, has been doing most of the day. And...I confess...what I've done most of the day, too. I just didn't take a picture of myself! (I'm sick...I don't know what Pugly's excuse is!)


Tonight we ordered dinner. The kids wanted baked potatoes or in Turkish, kumpir. As you can see from the above picture baked potatoes in Turkey are nothing like they are in America. The plain kumpir comes with butter, cheese, corn, mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles, olives, and various other things. You can also add some of your favorites as well. The above potato looks like it has hot dogs, chicken, potato salad with green peas, lettuce, and who knows what else on it. We always order the plain kumpir and then request that it come with only cheese and butter. I'm sure the preparer of our potatoes wonders what the point is. I mean how can we possibly call what we get a kumpir? Once our potatoes arrive we add our version of sour cream and bacon bits which are not choices on any Turkish menu. Good eating.

(amy, i know what you are thinking....gross...chicken poop on a plate!)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Chicken poop on a plate

I am in somewhat of a state of shock. So much so that I typed "shick", "sohck", and "sock" before I actually found a way to force my fingers to type "shock". I commented on a random blog I found about 12 hours ago. I didn't know this person, but she has a highly entertaining blog with some amazing pictures thrown in. She also has quite a few blog fans. I am now one of them! I was comment number 90 and now...12 hours later she has 347 comments on that same post. Seriously! Anyway...in the comment form there was a place to put down my blog address. In the last 12 hours I have had over 20 people look at my blog because of this. Random people. People in places where I don't know anyone. Now I have no idea who those people are or anything about them...just that someone from Meridian, MS and Portland, OR, and Midland, MI, etc. looked at my blog. And I love the idea of random people reading my blog. Love it! I am feeling pressure though. Pressure to be witty and clever so they will come back for a second look.

I know the title of this post has nothing to do with the topic. I'm telling you...the pressure is getting to me! I couldn't come up with anything else.

Update on the update.

I have gotten several emails asking if we really did get our bag from the airport. Yes!!!!! Everything that we knew we were missing was in it so I don't even think it had been looked in. The bag was a new duffle bag we had purchased the day before we left America. It was a black canvas type bag with handles sown on the sides. Somehow...somewhere...during it's 11 day journey the handles came unstitched from the fabric. The fabric wasn't torn at all...just the handles were dangling off...hanging on by mere threads. I can't even imagine how they came to be that way. This bag will never travel again because of the difficulty we would have carrying it. It's maiden voyage will be it's final one.

3 things about me

1. i am not a verbal processor. when i try to say what i am thinking before i have had a chance to think it through it comes out all wrong. i say what i don't mean to say. my words might make some sort of sense to the person hearing them, but they aren't ever what i mean. i have learned...most of the time...to keep my mouth shut until i know what i think and feel. sometimes i don't, and i always say something stupid, make a mountain out of a molehill, hurt someone with my words, or embarrass myself. sometimes all of the above. shut up, natalie, shut up!

2. i am stubborn. if i don't want to do it no amount of begging or bribing will change my mind. i might change my mind. my circumstances might change. my feelings about the thing i am being stubborn about might change. i might decide to do what i stubbornly said i wouldn't. but there is nothing anyone else can do to make me change my mind. (i know...this isn't really a good thing.)

3. i listen hard. - to people - i want to know what they are thinking. i ask that question of those close to me often. what are you thinking? and then i remember almost every word they say...replaying conversations in my head so i don't forget them. (i do sometimes have trouble remembering what i say though...it usually seems trivial compared to what others have said to me) - to songs - i will listen to a song over and over just to hear the way the words go together. i look up the lyrics so i can be sure to understand what they are saying. and i wonder about the one singing the song. if they really feel the words coming from their mouth as much as i feel them as i hear them. - to life - in my own world some sounds have just faded into the background because i am so used to hearing them, but when i am away from my normal i hear everything. the birds, the wind, the sounds of life happening all around me. so i sit back and listen taking it in.

(i fully expect comments or emails from those who i have not paid attention to...not listened to. i know you are out there! and it wasn't that you didn't have something important to say...my mind was full? maybe...)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What time is it?

It's asure time! I know...I've posted about asure before. But, when someone delivers a bowl of freshly made piping hot asure to my door I just can't help but tell you about it. And I know that I have quite a few more blog readers/fans (can I say that? that I have fans? hmmm...) than last year so I will post again. This time we only received one bowl, and I must admit it was the best I've ever had. I'm still not a big fan, but I at least tasted it. Here is last year's asure post so you can compare pictures, and so that I don't have to explain asure to those of you who are new since then!

Erica's party

Erica had a few friends over last night for a late 15th birthday party. Other than putting food on the table, explaining my right to ultimate veto power on the movie they chose (which I didn't even have to use because they picked a good one), and taking three pictures I steered clear of the whole thing. Unbeknownst to me Anna Grace went in and took a few pictures of the party as well. Here are our combined efforts. And I have chosen not to explain these pictures. What can I say about 10 teenagers sitting around eating and talking? They did play some games as well, but there are no pictures of that.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jacob!

Jacob is 10. I know I mentioned that in a previous post, but I still can't believe it. On Sunday, his actual birthday, he chose to go to El Torito with a friend. Here are a few pictures from that day.

Jacob and Josh

After our meal our waiter brought out two of these yummy desserts for free. He didn't even know it was Jacob's birthday so it was a nice surprise. Basically it was fried apples with fried torilla strips on top. Lots of cinnamon and ice cream and cherries...delish!

Then on Monday after school he came home to find his present from us. He was happy as you can see from the look on his face above...when he first got a glimpse at what it was.

Now that he has the guitar we need to sign him up for lessons.

Then today...today was nothing short of chaos. We had 18 kids at our house to celebrate his birthday with a party and cake and ice cream. After the house portion of the party Brian took the kids to a soccer field where they had a rousing game of America football. 5 more kids joined us for that. It was crazy fun! It had gotten really foggy and was below freezing outside. It didn't seem to stop the boys though. They were all sweating by the time the game was over!

The cake

Jacob and his friend, Daks, who is also turning 10 this month.

This video doesn't quite capture the amount of noise that was going through our house. The boys almost seem tame compared to how it really went. You can tell from the brief glance at Brian in the video that he thinks we are all crazy...especially me for allowing something like this to go on. I told him that this year all the kids had big birthdays, but next year...next year we are only doing family parties. I don't think I could handle anything else. It will take me more than a year to recover!


The airport called, and they have our bag!!!! I can't believe it. After 11 days our bag showed up. I feel like I am dreaming. Now...we just have to get it. They said they would deliver it tomorrow, but I don't want it to even leave the airport unless it is leaving with us. We can't go get it until tonight. Stay tuned for an update on whether or not all my dreams have come true...

Lane Stricklin

In the past three days I have gotten quite a few hits on my blog from people who are googling "Lane Stricklin". I decided that I should put the information I have about the arrangements for him on here just in case that is what people are looking for.

Funeral Arrangements

Visitation - Friday 1/18 4-8pm Klein Funeral Home - Champion Forest

Service - Saturday 1/19 11am Champion Forest Baptist Church Chapel

Burial to follow at Klein Memorial Park on 249

Return to the church for lunch reception

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Video by Anna Grace

When you are bored and grounded from watching tv I guess you make your own tv. I can't even tell you how many videos Anna Grace took of me today. Here is one.

A list

Coconut Cream Pie
Life Aquatic
Honey, I'm home.
Eggy in a basket
Feel the Illinoise
John (make me feel bad) Piper

You only think you know!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


We have been back in Turkey now for one week and two days. When we arrived at the airport last Monday we realized that one of our pieces of luggage was missing. We waited for all 12 bags to come down the conveyor belt that would deliver them to us. One of our bags didn't show up. We took a quick inventory and determined it to be one of the new duffle bags we had purchased while we were in the states. We were told by a nice lady at the airport that more than likely it would arrive the next day on the same flight we had just come in on. She took our number and told us that she would give us a call when they had our bag. Tuesday came and went without a call from the nice lady or anyone else who might have information on the whereabouts of our bag. On Wednesday Brian decided to call them. Nothing. It has now been one week and two days. Brian has called the airport and checked with the airline several times. Nothing. As we unpacked our 11 other bags we tried to figure out what we were missing. Books...probably 10, Arrested Development Seasons 1 and 3, a brand new dress I bought for Erica to wear to the winter dance, the outside layer of Brian's winter coat, pictures that I had printed and then deleted from my computer, my favorite pair of sweats, my new jacket, half of Brian's wardrobe...most of it new, 2 brand new playstation games being brought in for a friend, and probably even more that we haven't missed yet. So frustrating. A week and 2 days. When should I give up hope that our stuff will be found? Hmmmm...


Some things that made me smile today...in no particular order...

1. Jacob giving me a hug and saying, "mmmm...you smell good."
2. MiChoKo's
3. the laundry being done
4. bulgur pilav
5. Arrested Development (even though I had to start at Season 2)
6. a phone call
7. wireless internet
8. email
9. the yellow roller thingy story
10. (removed because of Adam's comment when he showed up at our house this morning)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Yesterday our friend, Lane Stricklin, passed away. Lane was an encouragement to all who knew him. Everyone who witnessed the way he and Deana faced his illness was blessed by the example of faith they exhibited. It was truly a gift from God to know him.

PS...Brian had the opportunity to play on the same softball team as Lane before we moved to Turkey. He said that Lane was the only guy on the team who didn't make fun of him...but that he probably wanted to.

Monday, January 14, 2008


The kids and their cousin, Connor. He looks like Brian to me!

The Dixon women

For the Kirk girls...

Our last meal in Waco was at Bush's Chicken...recommended by Lindsey, Bethany, and Aubrey. As we were walking in the door...before she had even tasted it...Anna Grace said, "Bush's Chicken is the best chicken ever...or so I've been told." Afterwards she decided she agreed. It was good!


amazing, incredible, awesome, great, so good, unbelievable, extraordinary, spectacular, staggering, wonderful, moving, overwhelming, thrilling, stunning, magnificent, exceptional, fantastic, special, surprising, phenomenal, outstanding, marvelous, fabulous, remarkable, stupendous, groovy, gone, unreal, startling, superb, unthinkable, terrific

eye-opening, breathtaking, heart-stirring, mind-blowing, spine-tingling, out-of-this-world

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Today is Jacob's birthday. He is 10. It hit me today that I now have three kids in double digits as far as their ages go. Erica turned 15 on Jan. 8. Will turned 12 on Dec. 5. And now Jacob is 10. How did that happen?

Anna Grace is 8. Only 8. I remember being a little worried when Erica turned 8. In college I was an early childhood education major. That was defined as birth through age 8. I remember thinking that Erica was almost out of my area of expertise. It was scary. And now I have a 15, 12, 10, and 8 year old. I am in trouble!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Old stuff

I discovered an old memory stick in my camera bag so I thought I would share a few pictures from it.

Christmas 2002. And before anyone says anything about how short my hair is let me just say this...it had been growing out for almost 3 months by the time this picture was taken. Seriously...since Sept. 30...a day I will never forget. During one of my language lessons I learned how to say "I would like you to cut off three centimeters of my hair please." What I said to the hairdresser must have been, "I would like you to cut off all of my hair but three centimeters please." He used a razor comb and just kept combing until that's all I had left...3 centimeters. Erica was with me and kept saying, "Mom, tell him to stop." I didn't want to tell him to stop, because I didn't know what I would end up with if he did. On my way home from the 'kuafor' I called Brian to warn him that we now sported the same haircut. His reply, "come on home, Larry"...and I was known as Larry for quite awhile after that.

Our kids attended a Turkish school for the first two years we lived in Turkey. The preschool program had an end of year performance where the kids dressed up in costumes and did dances and sang songs. Here is Jacob in his finery. He looks so sweet I can hardly stand it. He was quite concerned about having to wear a pink shirt, but since all the boys were wearing them and not thinking a thing about it he decided he could do it too. He also had a red one with a ruffle down the front to wear for a Spanish dance that the kids did. This didn't seem to be so bad in his eyes. Red is his favorite color.

Anna Grace. Look at how cute she is!

Will...again too cute for words.

And finally...the cake I made for Will's 8th birthday. Not very symetrical, but it tasted good!

I had one picture of Erica, but it was too dark. She was cute, too. Trust me.


Go Karting Weekend - Amsterdam

Enjoy a fast-paced session on one of the best tracks in Europe.


  • 2 Nights Accommodation
  • Airport Transfers
  • Go karting session with transfers
  • Free Personalised Website
There are various nightclubs in Amsterdam but we think you might find it easier to find your own entertainment as Amsterdam has endless possibilities to be entertained in the evening.

Guide price £152.00 per person

Friday, January 11, 2008

the old way

Our last Saturday in Texas we went to Pappadeaux's one more time. This time I was determined to have a shrimp poboy the old way. Our first full day in Texas we went and I was a little disappointed with my shrimp poboy. The shrimp was the same, but everything else had changed. They no longer put tartar sauce or cocktail sauce on it. No pickles. No lettuce. And even the bread was different. While good in it's own way it just wasn't the same. It didn't satisfy. So here I am...sitting at Pappadeaux's waiting for my turn to order. It's my last chance for satisfaction. I have already warned the others at the table that I am going to assert my Americanness and ask for my order to be different than the menu suggests. Everyone is prepared. The waiter looks at me when it is my turn and I say, "I would like to have the shrimp poboy...but I would like it to be prepared the old way." I am ready to explain what that means. I am ready to fight for my right to food my way. I am even prepared to beg. The waiter responds to my request by saying, "sure thing". That was it. That was all it took. I love America!

The old way...yummy.

The new way. Notice the different bread and underneath the shrimp is coleslaw. The coleslaw was pretty good...but not on my shrimp poboy. (the onion rings were a special order...they didn't come with the new way.)

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Look closely at this picture from 1998. My dad is the second man from the left. Do you recognize the man standing next to my dad on the end? It was almost 10 years ago. This man is Dick Cheney.

While in America I saw this picture on my dad's bookshelf in his office. I had seen it before, but I never really thought that much about it. He asked me if I knew who it was. I didn't. When he told me I had a brief recollection of hearing that he had been hunting with Dick Cheney and others, but I didn't realize it was documented with picture evidence.

Side note...Dad also beat him in a game of pool, went hunting with him afterwards and lived to tell about it. Of course I don't really think Dick Cheney shot the guy he was hunting with several years ago on purpose. Just thought it was funny that Dad had been hunting with him before he became our VP.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The occassion

Mentanna's comment to my Roomies - 2 post reminded me of the occassion for the picture in that post. I happened to have a picture of those gangsters. But, why did they dress up as gangsters...really...that is the question. But why did they do any of the things they did? Really.

Roomies - Part 2

Another picture of Kristen and yep, you guessed it, Mentanna. I really don't remember what the occassion was, but it was picture worthy then and today...well, it is blog worthy today. I laugh every time I see it.


While in America 3 of my college roommates and I got to have a roommate reunion. It was so fun seeing everyone again. It had been 6 years since we had been together. Of course Mentanna was in France so she couldn't be there to complete the reunion, but we found a way around that. I brought my new computer which has a built in video camera, and Mentanna's husband, Scott, set up his computer which also has a camera so we got to see each other and chat for a few minutes. It was so fun seeing her on camera and getting to be "together". Here are some pictures of all of us from then and now.

The four of us in college. We look so young!

The four of us at Mentanna's wedding in Oct. 1997.

Lauren, Kristen, and I in 1990

And again on Dec. 30, 2007...16 years later!