Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Fragments

I'm joining a new Friday group called Friday Fragments, which are bits and pieces that are too short for their own post, but too good to never see the light of day. Link up at Unknown Mami (who is hosting for the summer instead of Half-Past Kissin' Time.)  I found this group through DoreenMcGettigan, an A-Zer. Phew, I think that's all the required links.

Frag One
Our family quotes movies a lot, because most of us like to re-watch movies multiple times. It does make it easier to remember the good lines. The Engineer, however, watches movies once. He doesn't play the quote game, except for a very few exceptions, like when The Queen of Quotes, Swissie, will throw one out there.

That's why the following conversation just cracked me up. We were having our usual “check in and see how your day is going chat” and he says, “I've got the thingamabob to fix in the whojiwhatsit, and the guy in charge is on vacation, the product isn't going to pass UL without it, and no one will even discuss this with me. And that's not counting my regular stuff, which is enough to keep me busy for a long time. AND I have Guilder to frame for it! I'm swamped! So totally uncharacteristic of him.  Loved it.

Frag Two
My Amazing Aunt Risky rocks. She's in town for GorgeousGirl's birthday and baby shower this weekend, but GG is in San Francisco for training (unexpectedly) so we get Aunt Risky to ourselves. Yesterday she kidnaps all four cousins (16, 15, 13.8, 13) and takes them to Boondocks fun center. Go-carts, bumper cars, bumper BOATS, bowling, arcade, lazer tag: teenage heaven! I got the whole day to myself to sleep and respond individually to your very thoughtful and helpful comments about my depression post. Then she brought us dinner when dropping off the kids! I just love her so much. She knows just what to do in any situation.

Frag Three
This is a conversation between me and OYT one afternoon last week.

Mom, are you going to DO anything this summer besides sit in your bed with your laptop and write and blog and do email?

There's really only one reply to that, “Are you going to do anything besides sit in the basement, hooked up to your XBOX live headset, and play games all summer?”

Um, no not really.”

Frag Four, or should I say BRAG Four
In my depression post I talked about tasks with deadlines. One of them was taking a piece of art my uncle created, somehow shrinking it, maintaining the correct aspect ration, adding text, to create a wine bottle label to replace the real one. These are the party favors for my cousin's baby shower. I've procrastinated it because it had so many steps. HOWEVER, with Swissie's help, we now have them all done, with ribbons tied on and they're set to go. Couldn't have done it without her! Forgot to take a picture of the finished product and they're at her house, so here's the graphic, at least.

Do you quote movies, or know that quote? Have a kid who lives in the basement playing games?  Anything you're procrastinating?  I hope you have a great weekend, and if you have fragments to share, hop aboard. The links are in the opening paragraph.  And no, you can't have my Aunt Risky.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Depression Hurts

Depression hurts. You've probably heard that phrase, it's the “jingle” for one of the major anti-depressants out there. My depression started with my chronic pain. It now continues with chronic medical issues.

Do you know what depression feels like, besides pain? Let me try to explain to you. Try. It's my theory that if you've never had it, you can never fully understand it.

Depression is like being dressed in chain mail, that's so heavy it's hard to move. It's trying to see through dirty windows. It's small tasks taking on insurmountable numbers of steps. It's the inertia of “I'll just stay right here, it's too hard to do anything else.”

Yesterday I had two more procedures, and my body feels like it's a dish rag that has been wrung dry, run over repeatedly by a truck, threaded through with the drying line, and is flapping in the wind, with no control over what happens next. Is some kid going to throw a rock at it? Will the squirrels come chew on it? Is someone going to yank it down, throw it in the washing machine to drown?

I have a lot of tasks with actual deadlines (we're not talking working on my book which went on the back burner a week ago and is now off the stove and put away). I need to get things ready for an important party. I need to do laundry, because almost everyone is out of clothes (and don't say have my boys do it, there was a third Saturday night trip to the ER and OYT is now one handed with a bad hand sprain.)

We need groceries, which I will have delivered, but let's break that down into all the steps that paralyze a depressed person.
  • find website
  • find weekly newspaper ad from store
  • navigate website
  • use weekly ad to choose items that are on sale and family might eat for dinner
  • add/remove items to stay within budget
  • pay
  • arrange deliver time
  • be dressed enough with hair combed enough not to frighten driver
  • put away groceries

Non-depressed people say helpful things like:

Cheer up! It's all going to be fine.”

Pray. God is bigger than this. He'll help you out of this.”

You shouldn't be depressed, look at all your blessings!”

Being depressed is not the Christian way to behave. We have Jesus, we're going to heaven, all this earth stuff is nothing.”

You're being selfish. You don't get to lay in bed all day feeling sorry for yourself. Get up and do something.”

And my favorite, “I know just how you feel. I get sad sometimes too, but it passes. You'll feel better soon.”

Well, there are these these brain chemicals that let the nerve cells (neurons) communicate with one another, sending correct messages all over your brain. They are called serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. When they get depleted from stress, pain, disease or other factors (use wiki “depression” for good info), they can't communicate effectively, and sometimes send the wrong signal, or no signal at all. This disorder has been compared to diabetes where there isn't enough insulin produced, another chemical inbalance.

Would you walk up to a diabetic and tell them to get over it? That if they just prayed more they'd get better? That they shouldn't be diabetic because they are so blessed? I don't think you would.

Please have patience with us depressed people. We are trying. We'd love nothing more than to be normal. We want to enjoy what we used to enjoy. We want not to hurt. Meanwhile, we're wearing chain mail, can't see through the dirty windows, and hurt all over. Give us a break, a gentle hug. And some slack...

P.S You're probably wondering what they did to me yesterday to bring on this dump of personal info. Colonoscopy and endoscopy. Waiting for results of multiple biopsies. Thanks for listening.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Saying Good-bye With Love

Last weekend we had an epic going away party for one of The Transporter's friends, The Boy From Spain. (I wrote about him in “A Day in theLife”.)  We started at 2 pm with outdoor games set up. There were a few snags in this endeavor as the volleyball net was missing the bottom half of the poles, so it was more of a tennis net, a foot off the ground. No matter, the party was full of soccer players, so they played volley-soccer, which is volleyball, using your feet and a soccer ball. Looked like fun.

The croquet set of undetermined age and origin had only two wickets, but all the mallets, and both poles. I had OYT and SMK's two middle kids (SMK and I co-hosted this impromptu, as in planned three days in advance, event.) They used some sticks they found and set up sort of an obstacle course in the former garden, now seeded, and growing an amazing crop of bindweed.

It was fun having new teenagers around whom I hadn't met before, especially GIRL teenagers. They were nice kids and mostly sat in a circle chatting and laughing while the younger kids played the weird games. At one point though, the older soccer players couldn't resist the “tennis” court and joined that game.

Lots of food was consumed, people just stayed here, and I'm glad we had the main course in a crock-pot because some had lunch and later dinner. Dessert was a hit. Don't laugh (because they already did) but I have a Pampered Chef ice-cream sandwich maker. Basically, it holds the cookies and ice-cream in place while you smush it down into a size that will sorta fit in your mouth. They had a blast playing with it, and several kids said to me, “Good call on the dessert. Much better than the cakes with greasy frosting.” Win! So I was vindicated in my kitchen gadget choices. I get made fun of because I have an entire closet full of unusual kitchen toys that don't fit in my kitchen. I'm the cooking show addict, remember? Need lots of toys.

As it got dusk, the kids wanted to have a bonfire. We do have a legal, fire department approved pit. (Yeah, a former “well-meaning” neighbor called the fire department on us. They said we were, “Well on our way to a legal fire pit. Just put down one more layer of bricks and you're good.”) The kids were even willing to pull all the weeds out from in and around it. SMK ran to the store for s'mores supplies. So the party went on. I love it when that happens.

(none of the teens involved cared to be identified...though I think you're pretty much going to be able to figure it out being as how I'm a Scandinavian chick, fair skinned and kids are easily distinguished from SMK's, and The Boy From Spain looks...Spanish...)

By now it's time for SMK's little ones to go to bed, all sugared up and soaked. (As you saw in the pictures, OYT got out his arsenal of Super Soaker Nerf weapons and there was a massive battle...)  The Boy From Spain, SoccerBoy, SMK, and I continued to sit by the fire, along with the guest of honor's host dad. (Who had talked about leaving around 5 pm, but was still there at 11:00.) I can sit by a fire for hours upon hours, and I think we would have done so if it hadn't have been for me needing to take The Transporter to the ER. He'd gotten something in his eye, and even the professional eye-wash kit couldn't get it out. Not exactly my choice of ways to end the party, and if you're keeping count, my second Saturday night going to the ER...

So good bye, dear friend.  Travel well, good luck with your life, and if you're ever in the neighborhood, you know you don't need to knock.

P.S Turns out The Transporter had a hair in his eye and it had scratched the heck out of his cornea. He can see again, and has finished all his antibiotics.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Confessions of a Cooking Show Addict

Hi, my name is Tina, and I'm a cooking show addict. I watch more cooking than anything else, I get twitchy if I miss an episode of a favorite show, and you better not steal my bandwidth when I'm using the Food Network interface. It's total crap, but when you have to have your fix of Next Food Network Star, and you don't want to deal with the whining of kicking you 13 year old and all his friends off the XBOX, you put up with some annoyances.

The Food Network interface has several great features. If you pause too long, it takes you back to the beginning. It has only a few commercials, but they will play the same one three times in a row. As in back-to-back. As if we didn't JUST see it. I will never buy your pasta now, nor will I mention your name. The most annoying? It won't go full screen. It will go MOSTLY full screen, but leave the time-elapsed bar along the bottom. I hate visual distractions.

Hulu has it's issues as well, but that's where Gordon and I meet. I have a serious crush on Gordon Ramsey. Yes, he's the guy who yells at the chefs in Hell's Kitchen, but he's also the guy who goes around the country fixing restaurants, and that usually means fixing the PEOPLE who run the restaurants. The man has compassion and some serious people skills, when he chooses to use them. The bluster and cussing in HK has it's place, because it does produce top-notch quality and immediate obedience, but he also knows when to give a compliment, and the chefs know that he really means it when it happens.

Netflix and I aren't speaking right now, because they can't seem to coordinate their audio and video. Yes, pausing does make it catch up. But why should I have to pause every two minutes, for two minutes, just to get watch another two minutes? Get some more servers people. Not that Netflix has many cooking shows, so I'm surviving that annoyance.

The absolute best shows, though, are cooking COMPETITIONS. Chopped. Iron Chef. Next Iron Chef. Masterchef. Love them all. Give them weird stuff to do, an impossible time limit, and let them at it. I love watching someone make five interesting courses with a potato, or making a cohesive dish out of fish-heads, gummy worms, an exotic vegetable no one knows anything about, and graham crackers.

Here are some invaluable cooking tips I've learned from Chopped. No, peaches and cream with eel essence will not make a good soup. No, you can't skin an eel with a corkscrew. (They really had trouble in the eel episode...) Yes, durian does stink, but inside is a really delicious fruit. You can't reduce fruit leather with vinegar in ten minutes. Goldfish crusted halibut is not something yummy. In addition, one cannot make a cheese sauce out of goldfish, and even if you could, cheese doesn't go well with seafood. Bacon CAN be a dessert item, but you do need chocolate. Just because you know how to make ice-cream, doesn't mean that beet ice-cream is a good idea.

You might think that my time should be spent elsewhere, but when you've got a baby blanket to finish by June 30, you get a free pass to watch as much TV as you want. And look at all the cooking fiascoes I will now avoid ;-)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Date with My Dad

I really hit the jackpot when it comes to dads. The Swede is an amazing father. Pappa. I thought that in honor of Father's Day recently, I'd share a favorite memory.

I think I was eleven or twelve when The Swede took me on a date. I think it was for a good report card, or maybe just to reconnect because he traveled a lot in those days. No matter, we got dressed up and I had him all to myself.

I have an almost photographic memory, so I can see the dress I wore. I even suffered stockings, because they made me feel glamorous and grown-up though the slightly-wobbly-walking in the highest heels I'd ever worn probably lost me some points on that scale. Wearing a suit, he took my hand as he led me down the stairs to Trader Vic's, a tiki-hut tropical themed place that my parents often went to on date nights. Being at “their” restaurant made it even more special.

Holding umbrella drinks in hollowed out coconuts, we talked. He listened to my latest gymnastics achievements, and to my angst about the latest school hurts. It wasn't easy being a band, word, and math nerd all at the same time and not get a lot of teasing. He's an excellent listener, and doesn't try to immediately “fix it.” He's still like that, which is so welcome, since I have someone else in that role...

The Swede talked, too. At this time, he spent his days traveling between Volvo dealers in his territory, and I had most of them memorized. I knew who was a nice guy, easy to work with, and who wasn't. He always had good stories from his travels, and anecdotes about his colleagues, with whom he commiserated about the frustrations about the job. I think he was on the service side of the equation at this point, and there were always customers trying to get Volvo to pay for something on warranty which clearly was NOT. He trusted me with “inside information” and that made me feel special, and grown-up, too.

I have no idea what we ate, but we did have to hurry up to pay the bill because we were also going to the movies! We saw my first R-rated movie, Brubaker with Robert Redford. My parents had argued about if I was old enough to see it, and The Swede won with a line like, “Don't you trust me to protect my daughter?”

I don't remember much about the movie, except it was in a prison and it was about some sort of reform or revolt. That didn't matter at all. I had my Daddy to myself for a wonderful evening, and even now at the ripe ole' age of 47, I remember most of it. The most important part of course was that he made me feel special, and grown-up, and no one interrupted us for his attention. I still like that. Dad, want to go to lunch?

Do you have a special memory of your dad? Do you have any special traditions for celebrating Father's Day?  If you're a dad, have you ever taken your daughter on a date?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Medical Leave of Absence

I'm taking a quick blogging break until Wednesday. I'm spending today and tomorrow having tests done at a hospital an hour away from home. We hope to finally get to the bottom of my health issues. Tomorrow's procedure is particularly uncomfortable and I'm a bit freaked out about it. Prayers appreciated.
Thanks to all of you for your support during these three long years of medical hassles. I really appreciate you!


Friday, June 14, 2013

Distant Thunder

I'm in the midst of a storm,
though safe on the porch

That distant thunder,
cracks of LiGhTnInG...
won't touch me

Not even the

B     nc      g
   ou     in
Will hurt

But it hurts you,
Your thunderstorm
So personal
So unavoidable

You have no porch
there is no safety, YOU
are at their mercy (asifthereweresuchathingwheretheycomefrom)

You've done your part,
prepared for the storm,
ensured the safety -
of all in your charge
Yet it's never

The storm pursues,
And absolutely

I can't stop it, either
though I long to,
and I'm in it
by choice

So I hold your hand, and
tuck you close,
and wait
WITH you.

It's what friends do.

As I sat on my porch watching a wondrous display of God's power, and praying the amazingly powerful storm helps the fires north and south of us here in Colorado, I couldn't help but think of two friends, each caught in their own storm. I'm helpless to fix anything, but I am there by their sides. Sometimes that's all you can do.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Double Butt-Bumpers, and Other Water Sports

It's a scorcher here today, 97 degrees.  It doesn't help that I have really special air-conditioning in my car. It works if I'm not accelerating. So I'm the crazy car pulling away from the light at supersonic speed, reaching cruising altitude, taking my foot off the gas, and THEN the fan blows again. Once I'm at speed, I can push ever so slightly on the gas, and the fan will keep blowing. However, I do most of my driving as a taxi-cab, so it isn't often I can really get the car cool. This totally reminds me of the (one) summer Farmor and Farfar came to visit from Sweden.

Up until the summer of 1976, they had always visited during the winter, but they wanted to try a summer in America. In Maryland. In the humidity. They didn't know what they were getting into. Sweden is a country where they count sun-days, as in, “The summer of '47 we had 16 sun-days.” As in the sun came out that day. A summer high is in the 70s.

It was a good thing that it was also the summer we got a family membership to a private swimming pool club nearby. We spent almost every day there. Farmor especially suffered from the heat. I remember giving up my seat in the front so that she could aim all the AC vents her way, but still, by the time we got to the pool, she'd be soaked. She'd get out of the car and declare, “Det är varmt I America!” It's warm in America. That is a saying we still use in our family. Farfar would reply, “Ja, något so collosalt!” Yes, so colossally! Can you imagine the climate change?

We did enjoy the pool. I learned to jump off the high dive. My sister and I invented double-butt bumpers. Bear with me here, use your imagination, and try to picture this. We hold hands, hold our breaths, we have our feet touching, and as we go under water, we try to bump our butts together. It's a trick with about a one in six chance of success. We tried forever before we ever hit our first one. Yes, this is weird. If you don't have a sister, or a brother, you probably won't ever understand where games like this come from.

We also learned to do somersaults underwater, how to swim the length of the pool in one breath, and how to stay cool during adult swim. We hated adult swim. We'd sit on the edge of the pool, like the good little girls we were (12 and 10) until the lifeguard starting flirting with the other lifeguard, and then we would lightning fast slide off the edge, dunk under water, and lickety split be back up on the edge picking our fingernails by the time they looked again. Only got caught once. “Sorry, I slipped.” “Don't “slip” again”.

It was a good summer, but the heat took it's toll on my beloved Grandparents. They didn't come back for a summer again, and we never had a pool membership again, but the phrase remains, “Det är varmt I America!” It sure was in Colorado today.

Do you like the heat, or are you heat phobic like me? Have you ever played ridiculous pool games with a sibling? Please tell...

Monday, June 10, 2013

The 45-Minute Waiting Area

I didn't think that there were people ruder than those I've met in my son's carline at his school. I was wrong. The people in the “45 Minute Waiting Area” at the airport are by far worse.

What's up with the 45 minutes anyway? Is that some magic time that represents how early most people are? Does it mean that when a flight arrives at a certain time, it's going to be 45 minutes until your pick-up-ee is standing at the curb ready for said pick-up? Or does it mean that there's some secret parking enforcement surveillance that will come after 45 minutes and send you on your way? Why not just call it the “you-won't-find-a-spot-here-because-I-used-up-three-so-that-my-girlfriend-could-watch-the-planes-land area”?

Or we could call it the “yes, I see that you're signaling and about to pull into that spot, so that's why I'm accelerating around you, will cut you off, and take that spot. Or “the I don't know how to park, and neither does the guy two spots away, so the spot between us will only fit a motorcycle.” Or maybe it could be the “if I drive up close enough to your bumper you'll move the extra 6” so that YOU'RE on the guy in front of you's bumper and none of us can move, should we get the magic call.” Pick one. Or name it all of them. Just don't make me wait there again.

When we finally did get the call (an hour after arriving), four cars had to move because they'd parked us in. There wasn't a lot of room left to maneuver. The parking lot had become like one of those 4x4 sliding puzzles where there are 15 tiles and you move them around to put them in order, only someone shoved a 16th tile in there and now nothing's moving...

(photo credit wikipedie free images)

The fun wasn't over, though. After we picked up our friend, I was to drive her car home. She'd injured herself on her trip and couldn't walk. I also had to find that car. All was fine until I hit a dead end at West M. I was going for West N. I'd been heading down the alphabet from C just fine (I am rather familiar with the alphabet, right Gary?). Then no N. I wandered around a bit. Reminded me of that Seinfeld episode where Kramer is carrying the air-conditioner, Elaine has the goldfish, and Jerry ends up urinating in public.

Finally the airport parking enforcement (aHA! Please, head out to the waiting area from hell and kick some of those yahoos outta there, would ya'?) truck comes driving along. I flag them down and explain that I need N but the garage ends with M. One of them turns to the other and says,

Do we have an N now?”

Yup, it's in the other pod.”

OK, how do I get there?”

Oh, he'd better take you. It's kinda confusing. I'll stay here and finish up.”

So I get into the enforcement truck, and the man ATTEMPTS to help me find her car. We drive around for quite a while until he figures out how to get to “the other pod.” It's close by, but seeing it and finding a road/path to it are two different things.

We finally get over there, after several tries up and down the ramps, and we actually find the car! I was so relieved, and thought that the hard part of my day was over. But no, because the friend we picked up ended up needing the ER, so that's where I spent the night. But that's another post, if she'll let me. I was THIS close to laying down on the tile floor at 4:30 a.m...I'm too old to stay up that late. Especially after braving the waiting area, and the parking garage, and worries about my friend's health. I need a nap...

Do you have any travel/airport/parking lot horror stories? Or would you rather be in carline?

Friday, June 7, 2013

A Day in the Life

It's amazing to me what teenage boys do behind closed doors. Yes, I know, because they can no longer close the door. At least not if they want some of the flow of the swamp cooler to waft through the place, which even they realize is so necessary with FIVE of them crammed into The Transporters less than pristine room.

It's been absolutely hysterical to listen in on them. Not on purpose, I'm not that controlling of a mother, but I am in the next room. I like to write sitting on my bed, in my newly remodeled sanctuary. I hear everything that goes on next door.

They are the kings of multitasking. Usually, there's a computer going with Minecraft (amazing game, requires creativity and thought and that you build your own world to “play” in), each had a DS in hand, they've reverted to elementary school and are catching Pokemon and trading them. Much of the conversation revolves around each monster's particular attributes and the debate gets heated. Meanwhile, SoccerBoy usually has brought over his TV and XBOX so two of those complete systems are also up and running. They're playing Halo, while playing Pokemon, while talking, and not just among themselves, they're on XBOX live and I hear SkinnyBoy's voice! I don't know how they do it.

One day the conversation left Pokemon and went to, of all places, differences in the criminal justice system in the US verses Spain. Loved being a fly on the wall for that one. I'll sum it up by saying corruption knows no country boundaries, apparently. The consensus was that it's bad all over, with politicians getting away with whatever they want. What amazed me though is that all the clicking of controllers, sliding of styluses, and building of worlds ceased during the discussion. I wonder what other topics have made them stop everything to talk.

They stay in that room for hours. We're talking twelve straight. They feed themselves. The Transporter will fire up the grill and make everyone hotdogs. Or they'll order their own pizza. They won't remove the used paper plates or those pizza boxes from the room, though. Maybe it's some sort of shrine to go with all the empty Arnold Palmer tea bottles which are in a pyramid of sorts in one corner.

Many of them spend the night. On the last day of school we had six. The boy from Spain cracked me up. The other guys just stay in the same clothes for days on end as the cycle of gaming and talking and eating and multitasking begin for another round.  Not Mr. Spain, he wore “suit” pj's. You know, the shirt with buttons and matching pants. With piped seams. Very classy.

We were THE house where everyone has gathered since we moved into the neighborhood. It was my secret wish that even when they got into their late teen years, they'd still want to hang out here. I didn't think it would happen though because our basement is so Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang, and the upstairs not a lot better. They don't seem to care. I guess all they want is to be left to do what they want, and occasionally have something to eat to fuel the many tasks at hand.

What have you learned about the species of teenage boy in your travels? Are you THE house? Would you want to be?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

IWSG: Not Insecure! But Need Help...

I'm NOT feeling insecure today! For the first time in a long time I've gotten to work on my book, and it's been amazingly fun.

My first novel is a space opera (I think), but it has a lot of sci-fi, and some double agent intrigue stuff. So one of my readers said, “space opera meets Tom Clancy” and that would work except I actually hate his books. They have too many tiny details. Love the movies though, and I think the action in Worlds Colliding (that link is for the post I wrote about finding the title) is a bit like those.

My story also has a love angle to it. So I've been saying space opera/sci-fi/double agents/romance and that's just too long. If I say space opera, does that include all of the above? Or is there another genre which better describes it? Carol Kilgore calls her books “crime fiction with a kiss”, which is so perfect. Short, sweet, and conveys the point. I want a phrase like that...any thoughts?

Here's the current version of my synopsis, tinkered with a bit since the W(h)IP It Good Blogfest.

In the last decades since First Earth got used up, technological advances have made life better for the inhabitants of Second Earth and its many orbiting colonies. However, corruption in government agencies, especially in the top levels, has not changed in centuries.

Leah has been slowly building a cover and infiltrating the TIA, as a double agent. Her mission is classified, and very personal.

With Ian as her lifeline to the FBI on First Earth, she's getting closer to the truth, and closer to the top rungs of the Titan Patrol. If she's honest with herself, she's probably too close to Ian, too.

Can she hold on? She's slowly succumbing to the pressure, and some of her old demons are coming back to haunt her. Will she be able to control her personal issues long enough to complete her assignment?

So yeah, please, what's my genre? 
Thank you, Alex J. "Ninja Captain" Cavanaugh for this group.  If you want to join, we post the first Wednesday of the month, and you'll find the linky in Alex's tabs.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Happy Monday! I am blessed!

I'm feeling really, really great today. Lots of reasons, and of course knowing me, you know I'm not going to be quiet about them...

On Sunday, I had the privilege of being the driver/cheerleader for The Swede as he participated in “Walking the Walk” for Parkinson's at one of our local parks. He did the longest loop available, and in HALF the time he had predicted. Yes, he has Parkinson's, but in no way is he letting it slow him down. He walks, hikes, bikes, snowshoes, cross-country skis and is driving to Maryland this summer. Go Dad!

I've also gotten some awards lately. Wow, people, I'm feeling so blessed! You'll see more awards posts in the coming weeks, but today it's:

The amazing Jo, of Jo on Food, My Travels and a Scent of Chocolate gifted me with the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers  award. 

If you've never visited Jo, you gotta go see her. She writes honestly and openly and is the only person I've met with an equal fondness for asparagus ;-) Yes, you get a recipe in each post. No, they're not ALL asparagus. Go say hi!

I'm to pass this on to 10-12 LADY blogger friends. You know, the whole sisterhood thing? Sorry guys.

I've met some amazing new bloggers on my road trip this year, reading reflections posts (yes Gary, I said the R word again...)and wandering around that large list of alphabet lovers. If you haven't met these lovely ladies yet, please go introduce yourself. If you know them, you know why I picked 'em.

Hilary of Positive Letters...inspirational stories... I love this lady. She feeds my history buff side, my culinary enthusiast side, and she is one DAMN good minion. She doesn't do awards though, so it's especially fun to give her one ;-). Again.

Carol Kilgore of Under the Tiki Hut, author of Solomon's Compass, which I can't wait to read, but it's BuNoWriMo and I've invited the world to kick me in the keister for not following I will have to exercise DISCIPLINE and not read it yet.  Don't let that stop YOU, though.

Jenn of Jeneral Insanity (wear depends before you go...she will seriously crack you up)

M.J Joachim who has more blogs than you can count...and did the Challenge with them all, and is the queen of crochet (I'm sending you to the crochet'll find the rest from there)

Melissa of Melissa's Imaginarium. Ok, I did know her before this year, but we reconnected. She's an inspiration in her personal achievements, and her books are delicious. Adults only :-)

The rest go to my amazing co-host sisters:

Shannon at The Warrior Muse. Third challenge and counting. INVENTOR of the Road Trip buddy and all-around amazing gal. Another place where I get my history-buff fix.

L.Diane Wolfe of Spunk on a Stick. Let me tell ya', she's one spunky lady. Her book of publishing tips is AMAZING. Go buy it. It will make you want to finish that WIP.

Nicole of The Madlab Post. Movie maker AND writer AND blogger, AND able to leap tall deadlines in a single bound without internet, on her Smartphone. She rocks. 

Damyanti of Amlokiblogs. Perseveres through tragedy and an inspiration to us all. Still praying for you.

Konstanz Silverbow of No Thought 2 Small. Great, supportive buddy and is publishing her first novel! Go K! And if you need weapons advice, she's your girl. Like if you want to maim a teenager or anything...not that I do right now...

Livia Petersen of Leave it to Livia. It was such a crazy year we didn't really get a chance to get to know each other, but she loves movies, and now that that we're done with the craziness of April, and the hangover of May, maybe we'll get a chance to chat. Hoping so anyway :-)

So yeah. Dad is doing great and people like me. They really like me. (Name the quote for 10 extra points) (not that anyone is counting) (because I'm not competitive or anything) (ok, say goodnight, Gracie) (you could name that one too...)