Friday, January 31, 2014

Saying "No" Gracefully

I was recently given an opportunity to do something I truly want to do but didn't expect to have the chance to do.

But, included in the offer were things I most certainly did not want to do.

Hello internal conflict. 

Was I supposed to take this offer?  Should I say yes?  Should I say no?  Everything in my being screamed "SAY NO!!!" was a church thing.  Aren't you 'supposed' to say yes to church things?  I mean, it's like a requirement, right?


Hello Guilt.

I really should say yes.  It's the right thing to do.  I may not be asked again if I say no.  Is saying no to the opportunity saying no to God?  Is saying yes the right thing when I don't feel like it is the right thing?  Do I trust my feelings?  Do I trust myself?  Do I trust my prayers?  Have they been answered by my internal conflict telling me "Don't do it!!"???

Two days I my mind whirled.  My stomach hurt.  My heart ached.  What should I do? 

Finally, I made the decision.  I was going to say "No."

Oh great.  HOW am I supposed to say "No" to church?

I sat at my computer.  I stared at the blank email.  I prayed.  Really, I did.  Then, I started to type. 

Do you know the verse about God giving you the words to speak when you don't know what to say?  It is true.  The words had to come from him because I am not this graceful. 

I began with a sincere thank you for the opportunity.  I expressed a desire to help.  Then I transitioned into the fact that this particular opportunity was not one I felt was correct for me at this time.  I gave my reasons.  And, then I ended it with, "I feel I should step aside and give someone else the opportunity to serve."

Deep breath in.  Hold it.  Hit "Send" and exhale loudly.

I prayed my answer would be read and received in the manner I intended.

It was. 


Included was a comment about how much they appreciated me feeling comfortable enough to be honest with my reasons for turning it down and that I would be considered in the future for other things. 

Who knows, saying "No" to a good thing may lead to eventually saying "Yes" to a great thing.  It's all in how you go about it.  Be graceful.  Honey really is more attractive than vinegar.  Unless you are cleaning.  But, that's a post for another day.  :)

This picture was taken when I returned home from Bible study Monday. 
To me, its beauty symbolized that I had made the right choice.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I Need a Nap

I have a problem.  Maybe you have it too.  It's called wanting to take a nap. 

Honestly, once the hubby and kids are gone for the day, it would be very easy to simply go back to bed or curl up on the couch and snooze away.  In fact, I have done this many times in the past.

But, if I want to be productive, taking a daily nap is not the best plan.  It's not on my schedule.

Remember my schedule?  I made a few tweaks to it, like only blogging 3 times per week.  I kept my daily cleaning in place, deciding "good enough" really wasn't and the extra time was necessary to keep my home acceptable.

The schedule tweaks mean fewer hours writing.  I'm not reading as much as I would like, but my new Kindle (early Valentines present.  Thanks again, honey!) is quickly taking care of that issue. 

This week I added another thing to my schedule and it has totally thrown me off.  Monday morning Bible study.  Class starts at 9 and goes until 11:30.  I get home at noon.  Unless I need to stop by the grocery store on the way home, which puts me home at 1.

The rest of my Monday is lunch, then cleaning, then it's time to cook dinner.  Everyone starts coming home.  No writing, no editing, no reading.  In the future, Monday's blog will be written  over the weekend so all I have to do it hit "Publish" when I get home from church. 

Add to that, yesterday was the youngest son's birthday.  He is now 16.  So I spent the day shopping for final things, wrapping gifts, baking the cake, etc.  All those things I do to make the day special.  All this translates to two days this week of no writing.

Last night I fell asleep on the sofa around 10:30.  I woke at 12:15, turned off everything, took out my contacts, and climbed in bed.  Awake.  I finally drifted off. 

But, there is something about waking up, getting up, taking care of things and then finally making it to bed that is not conducive to a good nights rest.  Sure, I slept.  But, it wasn't restful. 

This has happened several times this week.  Is it the change in my daily schedule?  Do I need to simply give in and take a nap?  For the record, I am still tired.  My nice roaring fire is definitely conducive to a nap.  It's so warm sitting here, listening to the logs burn and the dog snore. 

When do you make the decision to nap?  How do you decide?  Is it better to hold out and go to bed at a decent hour instead of falling asleep in front of the tv?

Time to go back to the drawing board with the schedule again.  I must incorporate new items in for the next 11 weeks.  While I'm at it, I need to set a bedtime for myself.  More importantly, I must stick with it.

Time for a nice big cup of coffee.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Bible Study and BBQ. Life is Good.

Today is Monday, the beginning of a new week. 

Normally, I am like everyone else, moaning and groaning when Monday comes around.  But, this morning was different.  I didn't magically change into a morning person.  No.  Not at all.  That will never happen. 

But, today, I had something wonderful to anticipate attending.  At 9:00, this semester's Bible study began!  I was thrilled to be back in class, seeing all the lovely ladies who attend and chatting about our Christmases with our families. 

Everyone was so excited to be back in session.  We missed each other and studying the Bible together.  It's going to be a good 11 weeks. 

The one thing that did not excite me about today was it destroyed my schedule which I had finally honed to a workable point.  That's why this blog post is "late" today.  I didn't remember until bedtime last night that my day was going to be "off" and that I needed to write this ahead of time. 


Now, to the real reason for today's post.  Food.  Delicious, wonderful, mouth watering food.  In particular, the meal I made for dinner Sunday night.

What is this delicious meal?  Brisket, pinto beans and fried potatoes. 

It was delicious.  In fact, it was so fantastic my 15 year old son ate the remainder of the brisket for  a snack later last night. 

Snack.  HA!  He ate half a brisket!  Thankfully, it was a small one.  But, still...

This is how I made the beans and brisket.

Pinto Beans. 

I usually make them on the stove top, but I decided to use the crock pot this time so I didn't have to keep stirring and checking to see if it needed more water.  Not a bad decision, but the "juice" didn't thicken. 

Here's what I did: 

First, rinse and pick over a half bag of dried beans, cover with water and let sit over night in the crock pot, power off.  Preferably unplugged, but that's just me being paranoid. 

The next morning, drain the soaking water, rinse and cover with more water.  At least 2 inches per the instructions on the back of the bag. 

Chop a small onion and toss in the pot. 
Add chopped garlic.  1-2 teaspoons full.  I use the jarred, pre-chopped kind.  I am lazy when it comes to garlic.  If you like to chop your own garlic, 1 clove should be about right. 
Add in a little cumin and oregano.  Not a lot.  Maybe 1/2 - 1 tsp of each. It's a matter of taste.
Unwrap and toss in 1-2 chicken bouillon cubes.  I used 1 and had to add salt after I finished cooking.
About half a pack of chopped ham.  I am guessing it was about 3/4 cup of ham.
Seed and devein a jalapeno then chop it into tiny pieces and add to the pot. 
Black pepper, to taste.

Stir everything together.  Cover.  Turn on high and let it cook all day.  Really.  All day long.  On high.  Maybe it's just MY crock pot, but beans do not get done on low.

Important:  Do NOT open the lid.  Leave it closed.  Let it cook.  Don't worry about stirring it.  The beans are fine.  I promise.  The more you open the lid, the longer it takes to cook.  Leave the lid alone. 

Once you have the beans cooking, it's time to go have a few hours of fun.  Or work.  Or shopping.  Or whatever.  When you get back and the house smells incredible from the cooking beans, you will begin to think about what to make with them.  Brisket is the answer.  Brisket is always the answer.  Always.  Trust me on this.

I usually buy a small brisket that has already been trimmed.  This means, you see the nice red meat on one side and a thin (for a brisket) layer of fat on the other side.  This will be about 1/4 in thick, maybe slightly more.

Preheat your oven to 250.  Low and slow is the way to cook brisket in the oven.

Line a baking dish with foil.  It makes clean up so much easier. 

*The dish must have sides.  Don't just put the brisket on a cookie sheet.  The juices will run out and you will have a huge mess in your oven.*

Then, pull out a small bowl.  A cereal bowl will work fine.  Then, go to your spice rack and grab cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned pepper and seasoned salt.  Brown sugar and liquid smoke from the pantry.

Ready?  Pour a bunch of brown sugar in the bowl.  I rarely measure when I do this, I just toss it all together, mix it, taste it and adjust as necessary.  But, guessing, I would say about 1 cup of brown sugar. 

Next, put about 1 tsp of cumin and 1/2 tsp of the other seasonings.   We love cumin.  If  your family doesn't, use less or leave it out entirely. Totally up to you. 

Mix it together and taste it.  Savory enough?  Sweet enough?  Salty enough?  If it tastes good, stop.  If not, adjust, mix and taste until you like the way it tastes. 

When the rub is ready, rinse and dry the brisket.  Put half the rub on one side of the meat, spread across and push into the brisket.  Turn the brisket over and repeat on the opposite side with the remainder of the rub.  Put it into the baking dish fat side up.

Pour a little water in the dish with the brisket.  Just a little.  Then, add 2-3 shakes of liquid smoke into the water.  Or 1 cap full if yours doesn't shake out.  Depends on the brand. 

Cover with foil and into the oven it goes. After 3-4 hours, when it starts smelling fabulous, pull it out, remove the foil and check to see if it is done.  Or close.  I put it back in the oven, uncovered, and bake it for at least 30 minutes to an hour longer at 300-350 to brown and form a bit of crust. 

Remove from oven and let sit at least 10 minutes.  Slice thin across the grain and serve with the beans and potatoes.  We make sandwiches with the brisket, adding sliced onion rings, pickles and bbq sauce. 

This is what was left after dinner.  I forgot to take a picture before we ate.  I added extra drippings from the pan when I sliced it to keep it moist. 
This is also what the teen ate later that night.  No brisket sandwich for my lunch today.  *sad face*

This is the new bbq sauce I bought this weekend.  Oh mercy, it was delicious.  Can't wait to try the other flavors.  I may pour this over a pork loin to make pork bbq one day soon.

If you have any questions, please let me know!  Always glad to clarify.  Happy eating.

Time for a cup of coffee.  Cheers!   

Friday, January 24, 2014

Snow Day In Texas!

What a wonderful day!  We woke up to SNOW.  In. Texas. 


Yes, it snows in the Heart of Texas.  Rarely, but it happens.  When it does, well it usually isn't much



To make things even better, school was delayed two hours this morning!  We got to sleep in and I made pancakes for everyone to enjoy before heading out for the day. 

The dogs spent quite a bit of time outside playing, running, barking, nipping at each other and having a great time.  I tried to take a picture, but all I caught was a blur as they rushed past.  This is how they look now, exhausted and resting in the office, aka the spare bedroom, with me. 

Sam prefers to snuggle on a couple of towels in the corner by my desk.

Princess Bailey prefers curling up on the bed.

The kids next door spent their two hour delay gathering snow to build a snowman.  Turns out it's a snow duck.  Isn't it adorable?

And, these are just some shots around the house.

Patrick took these shots while I was making breakfast.

Not the best composition, but you get the idea.  We had SNOW IN TEXAS!

Hope you are enjoying your Friday as much as we did this morning before 9:00.  Do you have snow?  Delays?  Make the most of it.  This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it!! 

And, when you come in from the cold, have a cup of coffee.  Really helps you warm up from the inside out.  :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Customer What? Oh, yes, Service...

Customer Service.  It's everywhere you go.  Stores.  Restaurants. City Offices. 

It's something most of us don't think about unless it is exceptionally good or extremely bad.

The past couple of days I have had both. 

The first was when I had great service at a couple of local restaurants.  The servers were working hard, waiting on lots of tables. They were smiling, chatting, serving food and drinks, taking orders, seeming to be everywhere at once without appearing over worked, hurried or stressed. 

I admired how cheerfully they did their jobs, even knowing some patron would inevitably cheat them on the tip.  Still they quickly and efficiently brought out food and drinks. Working hard, hoping for a couple extra dollars to pay their rent, their phone bill, their tuition, etc. 

This made me think about how we, as customers, treat the ones who are working hard for us.  How often do we say a simple thank you to them?  Leave a nice note for the manager to see you appreciated their efforts?  Or, better yet, ask to speak with the manager to compliment how well they did their job. 

Today, at a local café, I received GREAT service.  Thanks again Diane, who was too shy to have her picture taken for the blog, for great service with a smile.  Even when I needed my coffee cup refilled numerous times. 

And, then there are those who give bad customer service.  

Yesterday, I had a problem which required a trip to the city offices in my small town.  One office was helpful.  They commiserated with me over my problem.  Then they sorrowfully said I was in the wrong office and gave me directions to the correct office.

When I got to the new office, the receptionist didn't greet me.  She wasn't on the phone.  She wasn't doing paperwork.  She was playing a game on her iPhone which was immediately placed face down when I looked over the half wall to her desk. 

Still no greeting.  Just a LOOK.  You have seen it.  The look that says "What do you want?"

I smiled and said hello.  Mentioned I had a problem and was told this was the office where I would be helped. 

Snarky receptionist (SR) said "So, what's your problem?"  The only thing missing was an eye roll. 

Me:  explained the problem.

SR:  "Address?"

Me:  gave the info.

SR:  Picks up the phone and calls someone.  Tells them my problem. Listens, says ok, then hangs up.  Looks back at me.  "Okay.  Someone is going out to see about your problem.  If it's on your side there's nothing we can do about it."

Me:  "Thanks for your help."  Turned and walked away.  Fuming.   

This recurring problem which is fixed each and every time they send someone out.  Implying it is MY fault is not a way to make for a happy customer.   This was my first time coming face to face with this person.  Unfortunately, she didn't have a name tag on or a name plate on her desk.  I really wanted to report her to a supervisor. 

Then I talked myself out of it.  Maybe she was having a bad day.  Maybe this, maybe that. End result was I didn't call to complain.  Next time, however....

How about you?  What are your experiences with customer service?  Do you compliment great service?  Do you report bad service?  Do you "take it up the chain of command" for either?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Let's Do the Left Over Shuffle

At my home, "left overs" is two four letter words attached by a shudder and grimace.  They are my family's least favorite answer to the all important question "What's for dinner?"

Why? Maybe it's because my darling husband does not care for them.  Maybe it's because when the boys were younger having left overs rarely happened.  If there was anything remaining, it was barely enough for 1 person to have for lunch the following day.  If we had enough left for another full meal, it meant dinner was a flop. 

Whatever the reason, I now live with 3 mighty food warriors who will lead a revolution overthrowing the kitchen queen's rule if the words are uttered. 

Okay, so that's going a bit far, but you get the idea.  They do not like left overs.  At. All.


Even when they are still tasty the next day. 

Now that our two eldest sons have moved out on their own we frequently have enough for a second meal.  Since I do not want to incite a hostile take over, I had to get creative in the kitchen finding ways to transform left overs into a completely different meal. 

Last week I did "the left over shuffle" with spaghetti. 

To make it easy to transform, I serve everything separately.  I must also admit there are certain family members who do not like everything mixed together.  They want to control how much of everything is on their plate.  One doesn't like sauce.  Can you imagine?

So, I have bowls of spaghetti noodles, meat sauce, meatballs and of course cheese.  The noodles and sauce are generally left over.

This is when things get fun in the kitchen. If I am in the mood for a casserole, I will make a cheesy béchamel sauce and mix with the noodles.  I pour it into the casserole dish.  Next, I chop Canadian bacon (or ham, depends on what I have on hand) and layer on top of the noodles.  Now it's time for the meat sauce.  If there are meatballs remaining, I will halve or quarter them and add to the sauce.  If there isn't enough sauce or it is too thick, I will add a small can of tomato sauce with herbs to it.  Pour this over the noodles and ham.  Next, cheese.  An Italian blend, or Mozzarella and parmesan.  Next, a layer of pepperoni.  Then, into the oven and BAM!  Italian Casserole for dinner. 

The great thing about this casserole is you can make a large or small one, depending on how much you have left over, or how much you add into it. To pump up the nutrition factor, add lots of veggies to the sauce.  It is delicious and tricks the picky ones into eating more veggies.  I have added carrots, mushrooms, peppers, onions, garlic, celery, spinach, etc., to the sauce and no one ever knew because I used my food processor and shredded them as small as could be. 

It is limited only by your imagination.

OR you can make lasagna using your left over sauce if you family tosses away the uneaten noodles.  I made a small lasagna this past week and it was possibly the best one I have ever made.  The main difference was I used more noodles and alternated cheese or sauce on each layer of noodles. 

Other favorites to do "the left over shuffle" with are to use roast beef for sub sandwiches on rolls with sautéed onions, peppers and onions with Swiss cheese. 

Left over meat and veggies into a stew.

Left over chicken from tacos for flautas, or enchiladas.

Left over taco meat for taco soup.

Hope this helped you think of new ways to use left overs at your home.  After all, no one wants to eat the same meal over and over again. 

What are some of your favorites?

Friday, January 17, 2014

But, first....

This blog is being interrupted for an important announcement!!

But, first, let me tell you about my day.

It started off rather unusually.  I woke up at 5:24.  AM!!  I never do that.  I thought about getting up.  For about 2 seconds.  Then I went back to sleep.

The alarm sounded....and I hit the snooze.  Only once. 

Got up, got the kids up, made breakfast...and kept getting sidetracked.

I will do this, but, first I need to do that.

It has been a day of "but, firsts" all day long.

In just the past thirty minutes I have been sidetracked numerous times. 

It all started when I brought today's laundry to my room, which is across the hall from my office.  I took the laundry into my room, placed it on top of my dresser along with my phone and my water bottle. 

Obviously, I was planning to stay in there and put away my laundry.  But, seeing my phone reminded me of something I promised someone I would do.  I would put away the laundry....

But, first, I would go to the office and get on the computer. 

I stayed on task for the 30 seconds it took to do the favor then decided I should check my e-mail.

But, first, I would take a quick look at my friend's status updates for the afternoon, just in case something had happened that I needed to know about.

But, first, I needed to check Twitter.  I have notifications pending.  Must read notifications!  That done, I remembered I needed to check e-mail,

But, first, I have a private message to respond to.

Respond.  Chat a bit. 

Laundry.  Must put away laundry.  Go back into my bedroom.

But, first,  I need to use the bathroom.  Sorry if that's TMI. 

But, first, I should pick up this dime and put it in the change jar so I don't vacuum it up tomorrow.

But, first, I am thirsty.  Take a drink, pick up dime, toss it in jar, use the bathroom.  Wash hands.  Very important!!  Put away laundry - finally.

Now, it is time to work on writing my blog for Friday morning.

But, first, I need to look at Facebook again.  I forgot to check both my pages.  I need to update my status. 

But, first,

I am glad to announce I have finally managed to do everything....except check my mail.  I will do that in just a minute. 


I have to ask.  Have you ever had a day like that where you kept getting side tracked?  How do YOU stay on task? 

Oh, yes, The Announcement.  For those who are not following me on Facebook or Twitter, I will be blogging on Monday, Wednesday and Friday only - unless something super special happens that Can. Not. Wait.  Weekends are family time and Tuesday and Thursday are "reading/writing/researching" time. 

Have a great weekend!  See you Monday.

But, first,....

Gotcha.  :) 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Finding Balance AKA Living Like a Tortoise

Before the New Year I developed what seemed to be a reasonable schedule for my life.  It had all the things in it I need to do like taking care of the house, writing, reading, research, blogging, exercise and time for the family.  Each hour of the day was clearly accounted for, making the most of each and every minute. 

On paper, or rather on the computer screen, it looked good.  I was so pleased with it, I sent a copy to my husband to see what he thought.  He approved. 

A ha!

If I think it looks good and he thinks it looks good, I must be onto something!  was my thought at the time.  The real test was putting it into practice once everyone went back to work and school.  That happened last Tuesday.

Eight days ago. 

Eight days of failure.  Or what feels like failure. 

What looked good on paper, what seemed balanced, isn't. 

Perhaps I am just not accustomed to it yet, I thought when things did not go according to schedule.  So, I tried to stick with it, giving it until today. 

The plan is not working.

Walking at noon?  Who was I kidding?  Myself, obviously. 

Reading?  Research?  Writing more than 1-2 hours?  HA! 

Blogging daily?  Please....

What do I do about this?  These are all things I need to do.  Most of them daily.  I must cook, clean and do laundry.  Spending time with my family at night is a must also.  There are only a few hours remaining to do the things I want to do.  Important things. 

The key is finding balance.  It  must be.  I keep seeing books and articles and other blog posts about balance.  So, that must be the answer.   

But, how? 

Perhaps I need to revisit my cleaning schedule.  Although, in my world, making beds, tidying the bathrooms, picking up clutter from the kitchen and living room, sweeping and vacuuming are things that need to be done daily to keep the house in order.  I can not work without order. 

Perhaps I can do them faster.  Do a "good enough" job instead of doing them well. 

Perhaps I can blog fewer days a week.  Then I can spend that time reading or researching. 

Perhaps I need to give myself permission to not be perfectly on schedule all day every day.  Living on a schedule, or by a schedule, is not always the way to get things done.  Allowing myself to work, steadily, each day, may be the answer.

"Slow and steady wins the race," says the tortoise of racing fame.

Go, and live like a tortoise. 

I am going to try.  Maybe it will bring about the balance I need.

If not, please send "Alice" my way.  I'm sure the Brady's no longer need her.  :)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Cheesy Breakfast Biscuit Bake

Weekends are family time at our house. 

Weekend mornings are "Big Breakfast" days.  This past weekend, I had a Writer's Workshop to attend, so the family was on their own.  I made up for it Sunday.  Hash browns, grated with love by me cheddar cheese, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs and biscuits.  Coffee, milk, juice, and water rounded out the menu. 

It was a sight to behold everyone digging in and enjoying their meal.  It made this Mom's heart happy.  The only thing left uneaten was bacon.


Left over?  *insert a huge gasp from the universe here*

Say it isn't so!!

Oh, but it was so.  I did it on purpose. 


So I could make what I call Cheesy Breakfast Biscuit Bake for breakfast this morning.  I put it together the night before, let it sit in the refrigerator overnight and bake the next morning.  You could make it the day you bake it, but it takes longer and the egg doesn't have a chance to soak into the biscuits. 

The beauty of this dish is that you can customize it to your families taste very easily.  I have tried it several different ways, with a variety of cheese, sausage only, bacon only, sausage and bacon, different spices, more eggs, less eggs...  And, the recipe I am going to share today is what we all agree we like best. 

Please feel free to take it and play around with it, tweaking it to what your family prefers.

1 can biscuits, 5 count
8 slices bacon, crispy

4 oz cheese, grated
1 Tbsp half and half
3 whole eggs
Salt and Pepper to taste

Spray a small casserole dish with cooking spray.

Fry bacon, drain.  Crumble.

Cut biscuits into quarters and toss with bacon and cheese.  Pour into casserole dish and arrange evenly.

Beat eggs with half and half, salt and pepper then pour over the biscuit mixture.  Refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, remove from refrigerator, uncover and bake at 425 until done.  It took about 30 minutes for my oven. 

Biscuits should be brown on the outside, cheese should be melted and eggs should be set, not runny or liquid.  Cut into 4 equal pieces and enjoy!

In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, I found a recipe on Pinterest that I modified to fit my family.  Here is the link to the original recipe.

Friday, January 10, 2014

It's Always Something


Extreme Frustration.

So extreme that capital letters are a must.

Why am I frustrated?

My new camera.  That's why.

Supposedly, it is "easy to set up" on-line.  It has Wi fi!  I can upload images to a cloud for storage, my computer, Facebook,  Twitter, the list goes on. Easy set up, they say.


They lie!! 

Christmas Day I was busy with other things and decided to do the on-line set up later.  I took time to register the camera before promising myself to finish setting up the rest of the capabilities when things were calmer. 

I started taking pictures.  It was easy and fun.  I had a great time taking pictures.

Fast forward to New Years week when I decided to put the pictures on the computer.  I wanted to send them to people, put some on my blog, Facebook, etc.  This is when easy to use became difficult.

Very.  Difficult.

I read the instruction manual.  It looked like English.  But, my tired mind transposed it into Mandarin Chinese.  I decided to give it a few days.

Wednesday night, I was feeling rather coherent, so I pulled out the book, my computer and the camera.  I spent an hour diligently working, trying to figure it all out.  Thirty minutes later I yelled "HONEY!!  I NEED HELP!!"

Poor man was in the office.  He had no idea what I had been doing or the level of frustration I had reached.  He came running, expecting me to be underneath furniture from the sound of my voice. He stopped by the sofa, looked at me and asked what was wrong.

"I am ready to throw both of these things through the window.  Please help me."   My hands shook as I lifted the computer toward him.

 "It can't be that bad."  He took the computer and sat next to me.  "Let's see what's going on."

An hour later, he gave up. 

"All software engineers should be taken out and beaten.  Go buy a cord and forget the wifi."

He left the room, returning to the office where things made sense. 

I packed the camera back in its bag and put it on a shelf.  Closing the computer, I turned on a DVD and lost myself in Castle episodes for the next two hours. 

Last night, I was feeling rather adventurous again as  I decided a simple camera is not going to defeat me.  Out with the camera and instruction manual.  Things began to make sense. 

"Hmmm, I missed this step last night.  Let's try that." 

A ha!  It worked. 

Then, the next few steps worked. 

I plugged away at it, feeling more confident.

And, then it happened.  Or rather, it didn't happen. 

Things stopped working.  I continued to try this and that.  Going at the problem from every angle suggested in the book and on the website.  Nothing worked.

Frustration set in again.  Before I reached the point of no return, I did what any rational wife would do.  I yelled.


This time he knew what I was doing due to my earlier glee when things were working.  He walked into the room and sat by me as I explained what I had done and where I was not stuck. 

He is a genius!!  He solved part of the problem.

Things were going great....until we get stuck again. 

But, this time we are farther along than ever before. 

ALMOST there.  We are *this close* to having the camera set up so I can do all the wonderful things they promised. 

My plan was to call tech support today.  But, it may have to wait until next week.  I don't have the emotional stability today to deal with the frustration of Tech Support AND a camera that refuses to set up over Wi fi. 

Please note, I am NOT mentioning what kind of camera I have until AFTER I either get it working again OR return it to the store.  

Until then!

Disclaimer:  This post is in NO WAY a reflection on my husband and sons who lovingly gave me a simple, easy to use camera.  I love them and their giving hearts very much and appreciate all they do for me on a daily basis.  It is not their fault I am having problems setting up the Wi fi component.   

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Great Bed Debate

My friend Debra posed a question on Facebook yesterday and received an amazing response. 

Her question:  Do you make your bed daily?

Yes?  No?  Only before getting in at night?  Only when you change the sheets?

I lost count of how many people answered.  But, many added details like when they made it, if they required their children to make them, etc. 

Are you curious about my answer? 

You are?

Well, here it is:

Me. Every. Single. Day. And, since the boys have to leave so early for school, I make theirs too. There was a time when I drove myself crazy insisting they do it before school. Then, I drove myself crazier by not insisting they do it and NOT doing it myself. Finally, I started doing it myself since I was the one who wanted it done. This is ONLY during school. During breaks, they are required to do it or keep their doors closed.

For the sake of honesty, I admit I drive them to school because the bus arrives at the bus stop at 6:40 and at school at 7:30.  It is a 10 minute drive to school if ALL the lights are red.  Seriously.  We live two miles from the school. 

I am not a morning person.  Neither are they.  We sleep as late as we possibly can, getting up in time for me to make breakfast while they get ready for school.  They eat and brush their teeth before we jet out the door, getting them to school at 7:30. 

Your turn!!  Is it important to you to make your bed daily?  When?  Why?

When?  For me, in the mornings.  Mine is made as soon as hubby and I are both out of bed. I make the boys when I get home from dropping them at school.  **edited:  I usually make mine before leaving the house, but if I don't, it is one of the first things I do when I get home.  Whew, I feel better admitting that.

Why is it important to me?  The rooms look better.  I can leave the doors open.  I dearly love having all the bedroom doors open.  Plus, I sleep better in a made bed.  Added bonus, the house feels cleaner and that makes me feel better. 

Comments Please!!  Tell me what you do at your house and why.  I am curious. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Christmas Break is Over

Today is the second day the kids are back in school following Christmas Break. 

It is hubby's third day back to work. 

The house is so quiet.  No tv, no keyboard or drums or marimba.  Only the sounds of the aquarium bubbling, the dogs moving about and just now the icemaker dumping ice. 

My house is lonely today. 

Yesterday it was relieved.  Finally!  Back to peace and quiet during the day.  Finally!  I can get things done without interruption.  Finally....  The list went on and on. 

Then they came home and I was so glad to see them.  We had a lovely evening in front of the fireplace, watching tv and eating popcorn.  Well, they were eating popcorn.  I had coffee.  We talked and laughed. 

Then, today happened. 

It was okay as I was busy cleaning house and putting things in order. 

But, now, I am alone.  And lonely.

The dogs don't talk. 

The furnace makes noise, as does the refrigerator and water cooler.  But, they don't talk.  Nor do they play music for me to hear as I go about my routine. 

They don't interrupt me to tell me something important "right now" because it can't wait till I leave the restroom. 

So, today I am lonely.  The house feels lonely.  And, I am glad.  It will make their return from school that much more exciting. 

The countdown has begun.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Welcome Back!

Welcome Back to My Blog!

If you think this cordial welcome is for you, I deeply regret to inform you it isn't.  I am actually welcoming myself back to my blog. 

Yes. You read that right.  I am welcoming myself. 


To my blog. 

"Why on earth are you doing such a silly thing?" you shake your head at my silliness and consider moving on to another blog where the writer is serious and has something interesting for you to read.

"Because it has been a YEAR since I have been here to read or write," I hang my head in shame as I type the words. 

The good news is, we are both back. 

It is a new year.  I am a new me.  I have definite goals for this year.  One of them being to blog on a consistent basis about consistent topics.

A ha!

Now we are to the part which concerns YOU.  Yes, you.  My wonderful friends.

What would you like to read about this year?  I can wax poetic on many topics.  Okay.  "Waxing poetic" is a bit overstating it.  But, honestly, I can blather on about any number of things.  Some of them intelligently. 

My thought is to give each day a topic.  The following is an idea list.  Feel free to suggest things you want to hear about consistently.  PLEASE, feel free to suggest.  I need the help. 

For instance, this might be the new format:

Monday - Meals. or rather, Recipes.  New, used, tried and true. Yours, mine, Pinterest (credit and links given, of course)   :)
Tuesday - Teens.  Maybe even a little parenting advice thrown in free of charge.
Wednesday - Wonderful things.  Anything wonderful in my life or someone else's (with approval).  Or something I have read or seen.  Doesn't matter as long as it is wonderful.  :)
Thursday - Topic of the Day.  Any topic!  Free for all day.  Oh my, this could be dangerous. 
Friday - Writing and Weight Loss.   Updates on how both of these are going along nicely.  Or not. 

What do you think?  Please leave a comment below with a Yes!  or a NO! Or a suggestion for other topics.  Excepting the recipes, these are all impulsive ideas.  I am not emotionally tied to any of them. 

Thanks for reading.  Thanks for your feedback.