Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Surprisingly, it is a Tough Choice

A record, two days in a row of blogging. 

  So this is my routine between 5:45 and 6:00 on the days that I run:  My alarm goes off, the dog, that now sleeps in our room because her previous sleeping buddy has deserted her and gone off to college, gets up, stretches and makes weird noises. I get up, stretch and make weird noises. I let her outside and mosey to my phone to check the temperature (phones these days can tell you anything) to see how many layers of clothes I need to put on.  Today when I looked at my phone I got confused.  Did I become a bear and sleep the winter away?  57 degrees at 5:44.  Sometimes my phone takes a second to update, must have been stuck on yesterday.  I waited, and looked again, 57 degrees.  I then checked the date (concerned about the bear theory), January 31.  Incredible!!!
    Later this morning I learned from a friend that a year ago today we had a huge snow storm.  Now I tried to confirm this (that it was actually January 31)  but I was a little confused as to whether it was the really big one (record breaking 15 to 21 inches) that we had last winter or one of the smaller (5-10 inches) ones.  I never figured it out, I just  learned it did snow, a lot.
   So,  I find myself asking, which do I prefer?  I must admit that the speedier dressing time was nice. Nothing on my head (except my light), a good thing, and the fact that the streets were clear and that I could go run, a definite plus.  The air had a bit of a springtime mist which was kinda refreshing
   But...there is something to be said about a good ole Midwest snowstorm.  You know, the ones where the kids come into your room early, turn on the T.V.,  cross their fingers tightly and then jump for joy when they see their school name on the "no school today" list.  There is something to be said about rolling over and going back to sleep, getting up late, pileing on the snow gear ("now where is the match to this mitten") and going out the door to make the first tracks.  Hot chocolate, snowmen, company (your kids and the neighbor's kids) at home with you, priceless. Yes, there is something to be said about a winter storm.

  The sun is not shining today, it is warm (now approaching 70), but windy.  No coat, no mittens necessary.  It's January, so going to the garden seems odd, it is not time yet and I am really afraid to see what is coming up since I know (since it is January) that winter is far from over.  So I write a blog, by myself, about the weather, and I plan on following the normal weekday agenda. 
  I think, I have decided I would rather be screeching cuss words with my daughter behind me on a sled because I have tried, at my age,to go down a hill that might be more than I can handle (yes it happened once).  Or I might like to be building a snowman, or hunting for the other mitten or snuggled under a blanket with hot chocolate, watching a movie with someone by my side. Like I said, one more time, it is January after all, at least for today.  I wonder what February will bring.

January 31, 2011 (or close to it)
     January 31, 2012  (notice the green grass?)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Oh Deer!!!

  The home where I grew up, as all of my known readers know (I still think someone out there will stumble on my blog and have no clue who I am or where I come from), had a big yard with lots of woods behind it. I spent endless hours roaming the grounds and going on adventures in the woods. Within the beauty of the my outdoor playground, critters scurried everywhere. Mostly I saw squirrels; rabbit sightings were a close second and sometimes, but rarely, I would spot a deer. Those sightings were always  very "wow" moments.  Then, I grew up and one day moved to Arkansas where my current house has a  big yard (not quite as big) with woods behind it and, yes, critters scurrying everywhere.
   My dogs spend their days chasing squirrels up  trees and chasing chipmunks and lizards under rocks, spending the rest of the day barking endlessly (the neighbors love us) at the tree or the rock even though the creature has long since escaped. They never catch a thing. Well, actually, one day my big dog got out of our yard and went on an adventure of her own in the woods and actually captured her prey--some turtles. She didn't kill them, she just brought them by the front door. I watched her from the kitchen window as she laid proudly among her turtles. When one would start to stray she picked it up and brought it back to the others. The sight, if videoed and posted, would be worthy of a million hits on U Tube. That, however, has nothing to do with where I am going with this blog and most of you have heard the story of my "turtle herder" anyhow.
  So, as I was saying, where I hang my hat now is much like where I came from, at least the outside world with its nature. A big difference, however, are the deer sightings which  no longer are rare. Instead, the deer are EVERYWHERE!!!  I am not exaggerating when I say that I see deer at least 5 out of  the 7 days in the week.  Often, they are in my yard.  One evening, as I pulled into my driveway, I was looking at something in the yard.  I had pushed the garage door opener and was driving slowly and waiting for the door to go up. I turned back to look to see if the door was up and there, right in front of the garage door, stood a deer.  He did not move, he just looked at me as if to say "Oh, your home."  Then he slowly moved on over to the yard and off to the woods.
   I think deer are beautiful animals, but they are beginning to become a bit of a sore spot for me. I have learned that hosta plants are their food of choice, so the 14 varieties of hosta, that the previous owner boasted exists in my garden, when selling us the house, means nothing.  The deer love to taunt my dogs, just barely staying out of the dogs portion of the yard as if to say to them "nah, nah, nah, you can't get me," causing, yes, more barking.  And sadly, we have made two trips to the body shop and calls to the insurance agent because within just yards of our home, deer have misjudged when to cross the road.  Both times they hit our car versus our car hitting them. Their fates remaining unknown since they were able to hobble off to the woods. No longer are the sightings a "wow" moment; they now are mostly "ugg" moments.
  Except when I run (finally the blog connection). Often in the wee early hours of the morning when I hit the road for my run, I see the deer.  They never scare me (my running partners just do when they grab me because the deer have scared them).  I have found it is the deer's time for some exercise, fun and fellowship too.  One day last week I caught them playing a game of chase in the school yard that we run by. It must have been  their recess time.  On another day they were actually running down the same path as me only in the opposite direction.  We actually did not run right next to each other because they went to the right of the fork in the path and I was coming from the left (but it was close).    You rarely see one by itself, they tend to stick together, they like running buddies too.   I usually speak to them, tell them good morning and always  ask nicely (usually nicely)  not come to my yard for their meals; but I think if they could talk, they would say back to me "but you have the best variety of hosta  in town. We have tasted, 14 different kinds."  So, they continue to come and I continue to curse; but, thanks to my nifty Christmas present (remember, from my last blog),  in the morning, on my runs, I find it entertaining to spot the deer in my headlight.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I'm back! Be careful what you ask for Susan.

Part I--The Rest of the Story

First of all, for those who have been on the edge of their seats since my last blog, dying to know about the "advent calendar project", let me quickly summarize. I failed. I believe about 7 task were completed. Five of them from opening the doors and then completing the task and then another two or three that I just happened to do. The box is still in my room. Last Christmas I actually filled it for the girls with trinkets; you might remember that was part of the reason for creating the project. I figured if I left it out all year it would be available to fill on the first of December instead of finding it among all the other decorations on the 5th or beyond. This year,it was still easily accessible on December 1st, but it did not get filled. I looked at it before starting this and I even opened some doors. Little scraps of paper still reside in it. So...I read them, thus the analysis of accomplished and unaccomplished tasks. Upon reading some of the unaccomplished tasks I quickly surmised they were no longer necessary--over that. Most of them, however, I still dream of completing someday. Also,I am puzzled how I could have possibly made an interesting blog from them. My success of interesting blogging might have been in jeopardy. I guess it is good that I moved on. So anyway, that is that in a gigantic nut shell.

Part II--Avoiding (heh)the "Christmas letter":

It has been two years since I started this blogging thing. It has been well over a year since my last post. I thought maybe my blogging days were over but then...the blog master, my sister Susan, (if you are not familiar with her, you can be; just visit "6 sheep and a llama" blog spot, I think she post hourly) requested that I do an annual blog. Hmmm, interesting concept--annual. Then she went on to hint (bluntly) that she is not looking for a "Christmas Letter". Difficult. An annual blog that is not a Christmas letter? Not difficult, impossible. Was it the length or content Susan feared? Or BOTH? What is she looking for here?

Hmmmmmm....Okay, I will not talk about my children: Connor's adorable family (including a new daughter in 2011), Carley's extremely successful (in academics, acclimating,getting involved and having fun)first semester at Mizzou or Cayden's important place (as a sophomore) on the Senior High Basketball team (including being part of the starting team in a few of the games)all while carrying a 4.0 gpa. Nor will I talk about my wonderful loving husband (of can you believe 20 years this past fall), whom I still have lunch with several times a week and whom I still love spending all of my time with (when he is not holding down the fort at Walmart). No, I won't talk about them. And I won't talk about me: my new love for painting, my old and steady love for running, my everyday tasks that keep me too busy or how much I love living in Bentonville. Now wait a minute. I think (I can't keep up with them all) that is what Susan blogs about. HER life. Yes, I just went and checked it out. She writes about the current players and things in her life all the time. I guess the difference is that not too many people have 6 plus sheep and a llama or for that matter even know anyone else that does. Most people, however, reading this blog, have experienced the family life. So blogging about my current players in my life, to most, would be "been there, done that". But I have an idea.

Now the length of this (now well surpassing Christmas letter standards)is beginning to worry me. I have gone on awhile now without getting to far but...oh well too bad.(Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.)

Part IV--The introduction to The New Blog: Smelling the Roses

Before starting this blog, besides checking out the advent box, I reread some of my old post, okay, all of them. It may have been my last blog that I mentioned that maybe someday I would blog about things I see on my runs. So...I have decided that that is the direction I am going to go in. It may not be a walk out to the barn but it is my perspective of my almost daily journey out into the world. Maybe most of you take walks and some run, but do you always catch the "little things"? You know "stop and smell the roses?" I love to find the "little things". They tend to lighten up and provide a sort of balance to some of the heavier stuff. I run usually 4 times a week, I walk usually the other days and sometimes even double up. Kelley and I also biked several times this fall and plan to continue that this spring. So instead of just talking about what I see on my runs, especially since most runs these days are at 6 a.m. in the dark and I don't see much, (although I did receive a nifty headlamp for Christmas that has helped), I am going to blog about something I experience on any of my previously mentioned physical routines. And as far as annual goes, I am going to give this blogging thing another shot. I know it won't be weekly but hopefully more than monthly. We will see.

Part III--The Actual Blog.

So here is a quick little "scene" from Sunday's walk with Kelley. It made me smile, but maybe you just had to be there.

I want to go on and on about all of our great new trails but I guess I will do that another time. Anyway...Kelley and I were on our 2nd walk of the new year together (2 Sundays in a row!!!). The temperature had dipped from the tropical weather we experienced earlier in the week but it was still in the "pretty nice for January" range. There were lots of people out. We quickly caught up to a family (and I mean a family)of five children, mom and dad, and their beautiful dog. The oldest child was probably in 1st or 2nd grade, a girl, a cutie with blond, blond hair. I always make it a point to notice the dogs, but this one, even though a big dog, was hardly noticeable because of all of the kids. Before passing them though, I did notice. The dog proudly pranced among them. "What a beautiful dog" I said reaching down for the customary sniff before proceeding to pet. "He is my dog" beamed the blondie. "Well he is very sweet" I replied. "What is his name?" The girl, with still young speech and absent enunciation, said "Stir-rye-pee". I looked at the dog: stark white, no markings. "Stripey?" I questioned. "Yes" she answered. "Okay..." I said looking at the parents who I am sure have relived this scenario many times. They smiled, shrugged and then the little girl said, "he had on a striped collar when we got him." "Explains everything" I said, "great name." I thought to myself, the only name that would have fit him better is Sport because he is sure a good one to agree to have the name of Stripey. Also, Sport is one of my favorite dog names, that's what my daddy called all the dogs he met (and usually ours--who had other names--too). After leaving them I imagined how the naming of the dog must have went down. Mommy: What should we name our puppy? Little Girl: Stripey. Mommy: No, honey, he doesn't have any stripes. Little girl: (the collar explanation) Mommy: (starts to argue) Daddy: I don't know, picture it: we are on a walk with all of the kids and a lady comes along and just when she is about to say (as I was) "wow, you have your hands full", she sees the dog, asks what his name is, and suddenly her focus is diverted. Mommy: Stripey it is!!! The whole name thing also reminded me of the scenario of when we got our latest kitty. The day after we found her we headed to KC for the weekend. We had not named the kitty yet. We took two cars for some reason and the girls rode with Kelley. When we got to KC I immediately ask the girls what they had named the new kitty. They both looked at Kelley who gave them a daring glareand did not answer. Later, when Kelley was absent, I learned that he had forbid the girls to have any further discussions of the kitty's name. He had just endured 3 hours of contemplations over 500 different names. She ended up Cindylou. And no, she has no resemblance of a Hoo in Hoosville, much like Stripey has no Stripes. THE END.(for now)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Remembering Approximately A Year Ago

At this very moment I could go in about 5 different directions. My laundry (yes the laundry again) is almost out of control, I have a pretty good book I have started, I desperately need a shower after my entire day of outside activities (either exercising or planting) in nearly 90 degree weather, our "take out" remnants need to be discarded, and it is late, 6:30 a.m. comes early. However, Kelley is in New York so I have no one waiting for me in bed, the dinner mess won't take long to clean up, I just started a load of clothes; I have heard it is not good to shower and wash clothes at the same time and the book is just pretty good. I think I will blog. Wow, two blogs in less than a week for me, pretty amazing!

So the idea is to open the doors of "the box" in order. Well, lets just say the hinges on the doors aren't being utilized. However, I think there have been a couple of things in there that have been accomplished without the efforts of opening the doors.

I believe that one was cleaning the garage refrigerator. I actually did this several weeks ago. It was so gross that I was a little concerned about cleaning it. There is noway that God would let something happen to me and leave someone else with that mess. But, luckily, it is in the garage and I just looked around (in the garage) and felt that it was still safe to tackle the job.

The other thing I accomplished without finding it in "the box" (but it is in there) was to send my dear brother Bill a very special photo. I mentioned in my last blog that I would very soon be blogging about something that happened just a bit over a year ago. Well very soon is now.

The very memorable weekend began on April 17th, 2009. All my siblings out there know the significance of this date--my brother Bill's birthday. Kelley and I flew out to Boston where my sister Susan picked us up (no bus shuttle on this trip). After a delightful lunch at a great seafood place (I can still taste the lobster roll)we headed to the Cape. The birthday dinner was at a great Italian resturant Kelley had found in one of his magazines. After dinner we checked into our hotel--the fabulous Chatham Bar Inn. The room we were assigned ranks as one of my top 5 favorite hotel rooms I have ever stayed in of all time. The room was spacious and decorated very light and airy--Cape Codish. The ocean outside right beyond our balcony--icing on the cake. I am not quite sure why, but when I go to the Cape, even though I have never lived there, I feel like I am going home. It must be all the memories. Anyway, we spent Saturday and Saturday night there (another great memory of the weekend--Happy Hour in the lobby with Bill and Cathy where some strangers' wedding was brewing.) Then on Sunday, back to Boston to get ready for the big "event".

Whenever I blog I feel like I have to write as if it is possible that someone might read it that knows nothing about me and have never heard my stories. Maybe it is just the stories close to my heart I feel need repeating. A year and a half before this special weekend I crossed the finish line of the Tulsa Route 66 Marathon in 3 hours, 59 minutes and 57 seconds--I needed to finish before 4 hours to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Thus, the big "event" I am talking about here. I would love to share every detail (from all my supporters who came to watch, to the bus ride out to the start,the long line to the port-o-potty, to the incredible start, to the Brown girls screaming and the couple with Advil,) of the experience, but I'm not, what I am going to share started with just 6 miles left to go when Bill jumped on the course and escourted me in. I was still feeling pretty good but THE HILL was just ahead. I found my people (Bill being one of them) right where they said they would be. I quickly discarded gear, grabbed the Gatorade/water mixture they had made "just right" for me, gave quick hugs and then I was off again, only now with a companion. I had done this for a friend of mine once, jumped in with 6 miles to go, it was quite different being on the other side here. There are many things you can say to a person that has just ran 20 miles. My brother Bill found the perfect words, "I can't believe how strong you are still running." With a comment like that the last thing you are going to do is wimp out. I was running with my ipod with just one of the ear plugs in, a very upbeat song was on when he made this comment. After THE HILL and with only a mile or two left, Bill ask me what was playing now, B.B.Kings "The Thrill is Gone" was my reply, I think he figured something of the sort. The thrill was not gone but it was getting close. Had I not had my brother there for the last bit and for THE HILL, I might not have made it. But I did, and I did. My cheering squad met me at the end,then off to celebrate.

A few weeks later I received, from the company that was hired to take photos along the course, proofs of pics that had been taken of myself, one of them "got me". It was of Bill and I running together. It took me until I received the "last chance to order photos" notice to place my order and then it took me up until almost a year later to send it on to Bill. I believe he received it for his birthday this year. I haven't heard from him though, he is busy making violins you know, but I am sure he loved it, a keepsake of a mid morning run with his baby sister. Thanks again Bill, for the memory.

Thank you to all my cheerleaders, too, that came to share this special time with me.
Can you believe it has been a year already?

(I Started this one night, finished it now. It was not 90 degrees here yesterday and Kelley is no longer in New York. Just in case you were wondering).

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I've Been Busy but I am Back

I am back. Okay everyone out there in blog land, straighten up, clear your throats, think Maria in the Sound of Music when it is storming, start humming now, do you have the tune? Okay, now SING!

Walking and running and planting and laundry,
Bball tourneys of Cayden’s and lacrosse games of Carley’s.
School Play for Carley (she did not have to sing)
These are a few of my keep busy things.

Trips here and trips there which of course means more laundry,
A retreat book for Cayden and a first prom for Carley
Track meets for both girls, what a joy watching brings
These are a few of my keep busy things.

When I can’t seem, to get another door opened
In “the box” filled with things to doooo
I simply remember my keep busy things
And then I don’t feeeeeel so bluuuue.

Wow, I could just stop with that, what more could I say. Well, it is me, remember, so probably a lot. Here are a few further details of the above mentioned (don’t worry, I am not going to blog about the laundry):

I have been walking and running a lot. I have been walking because somehow I have miraculously out lasted most of my running buddies, injury wise, and I have to walk with them if I want to stay connected. I ran in the Bentonville’s first official half marathon. We had a great turnout and I was very happy with my time. It hardly matched the experience that I had last year around this time (a very soon future blog) but it was still fun. I have been mixing up my running with various people and also, I have been doing at least one long run a week by myself. I used to hate to run by myself but lately I have grown to like it. I have considered changing my blogging to “things I see when I run”. We’ll see.

The word “exciting” seems to be a little tame to describe my gardening experience this spring. Last year I finally decided to get over my fears of failure and just put things in the ground. As most of you out there know, we have had, over the past few years, an issue of falling trees and so our shade garden has turned into a sun garden. In the past I never planted much because how many more azaleas and hostice does a person need, but since I have a whole new pallet, I am ready to go crazy. I had a friend last year hold my hand and she helped me get started and now I am starting to see the results. Every day I take a little walk around, eyeing what is new and amazed at the fast growth, both encouraging me do more this spring. I am just a little pumped about my garden. Can you tell?

In addition to the plants in the garden, the girl’s athletic skills are growing as well. My sweet Cayden continually shows that yes indeed she knows the meanings of “aggressiveness” and “intensity” on the basketball court, and Carley , in her Lacrosse games, demonstrates that yes indeed she is an athlete. They both had a great track season, too. Finally, both decided to please their mother (although it was really for their pleading coach) and run the mile. Neither one of them broke my time but they are approaching it quickly. Next year, I am sure. Cayden with her first and only mile run attempt (jr. high doesn’t go to state) won Conference, beating out about 20 other runners. Talk about pumped.

I sent some of you pictures of Carley’s prom. She had a blast. My oldest little girl is all grown up, well sort of anyway. Her date was very sweet and polite and other than him telling Kelley a joke, slamming Kelley’s beloved Jayhawks (her date’s dad is a Mizzou grad), things went quite well. No, really the date impressed Kelley with his attempt and success of breaking the ice. Kelley was also quite pleased with his daughter’s rightful confidence with her natural beauty which meant no credit card charges for manicures, pedicures, hairdos and spray tans that most of her peer’s parents endured. Instead she spent pre-prom at the park.

Only two weeks late and 20 hours of work later I finished a book of “love letters” for Cayden’s 8th grade retreat. The deadline that I missed was just a soft date, the book was done in time for the retreat. I must say it turned out creatively successful. (Cayden liked it too). Thank you all that gave her a letter, they mean a lot to her. She loved the retreat experience too.

Then Carley’s play. It was cute. It was a school play. She knew her lines, some did not. I saw it twice. Enough said about that.

The trips here and there have been mainly to K.C. Although Kelley, Cayden and I had a fab time in San Diego on Coronado Island for spring break. One of the highlights-- Cayden and I boogie boarding. The adventure started off a little scary. We selected, at first, an area that had under currents, but after a guy that was giving some other people surfing lessons had to come out and save me from, as he put it “floating out to Hawaii”, we moved to a safer area and had waves of fun. Carley, as I think I had mentioned in a previous blog, vacationed in Italy with a school group. Several of her closest friends went as well so you can only imagine how much fun she had. The pics are priceless.

So this is May. Just thought I would remind you of that. This blog almost sounds like a Christmas letter so I thought you might be confused. But, I know it is May because I have a boat load of plants on my patio that need to and I feel confident will get into my pots before my self-inflicted Mother’s Day deadline. The “box” of things to do may be getting neglected, but some things, my keep busy things, are getting done.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

This Task is in there Somewhere

Since the commenting person who seems so concerned about rules has dropped off the face of the earth, or maybe has just got lost in the hull(is that what you call it) of a violin, I decided I would not worry about what rule I might be breaking this time. I just can't get to that cabinet in the craft room. There just has not been enough undivided attention time. However, I remembered that somewhere in that advent box I put a different task that knew I could take on and complete. Lets see though, I have to blog about it, hmmm....

Fluffy, bright colored balls on an elastic strand, that is the best way to describe them. They hang, or hung (now hang again) in Carley's window. They dress, or dressed (now dress again) the window, but not really cover it. They are purely just for fun and look very cute in her room. Thumb tacks keep, kept,(keep) them up. Over the Christmas season I needed thumb tacks, a last minute idea, no time to go buy more....

After rereading an invitation I received to an ornament party (soon before going), I noticed the requested attire: "Please wear your 'tackiest' Christmas sweater." I don't own a tacky Christmas sweater. I have a Christmas sweater and I have tacks (if I disassembled the hanging balls) and I have cork to put on the back of the tacks to keep them on (the sweater of course) and keep them from poking me. I know I am ingenious! No, I did not win. Can you believe it? A girl who wasn't really wearing a sweater, just wearing a (not literally but totally) tacky outfit won. There were a few others that wore almost hideous sweaters but the majority of the women conveniently did not read the invitation closely and were decked out in their most "stylish" holiday attire. Anyway, the balls came down (to supply my tack needs), then after the party I removed the tacks from the sweater and put them somewhere that I would not forget so that I could put the balls back up promptly (or at least in the next few days). I forgot where I put them. So since then I have been playing a game of not "hide" just "seek" the thumbtacks. Or at least just try to remember to buy some new ones at the store. Finally yesterday, I accomplished plan b. I am a proud owner of 100 plus thumbtacks. (The box I purchased said 100 the plus are the ones still in hiding. You know what? When I checked to see how many were in the box just now, to give an accurate count, I noticed that it said push pins instead of thumb tacks. Oooohhhh, that is why I did not win, no one could figure out why I was wearing a push pin Christmas sweater!). Anyway, I came home and rehung the balls. Do you know that Carley did not even notice? It took me standing in front of the window and making several not so subtle hand motions (okay close your eyes and picture the lovely girls that are on The Price is Right that wave their arms presenting the prize) for her to noticed. She even questioned what in the world was I doing with my hands before she noticed. We had a good laugh over it and she was quite pleased with my accomplishment. I had really thought that the task was going to be first one in the box but I guess she is too rule abiding (nothing she obviously gets from me) to do that. Her instructions, remember, were to "randomly" place the tasks in the box. So now I can have a free day when someday in one of the advent box's door I find "hang the balls back up in Carley's window."

On a side note (in case you have been wondering). I heard back from one of the "sons" about my ladybug picture. I went to see him.He had kind of a snooty tooty personality. He told me if he just found materials around the shop he could do it for what he thought was not so much and I thought was a lot. I then proceeded to find a half price coupon for custom framing at the mega craft store. I met a very enthusiastic clerk (who loved my picture). She suggested a lot of fun custom stuff. It cost the a little less than the "son's" price. I picked it up today and I am quite happy about how it turned out. I did leave a couple of small repair jobs at the "son's" place, I have not heard back from him yet on whether they are done. Sometimes (maybe a lot of times) those "mega stores" aren't so bad.

Monday, March 8, 2010


The room measures about 4 feet by 9 feet, if you count the counter top space. If you add the closet, the room size almost doubles. It has more items in it than, well I don’t know, maybe the national deficit has dollar bills. I kid you not. Especially if you count every last bead, button, sticker, sequent, and extra circular photo packet of both my daughters over the past however many of years they have been doing umpteen million activities. The room, my craft room, portrays an exclamatory picture of my disorganized, cluttered, disarrayed life and projects a major chaotic thorn in my side. What is its current state on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 as the worst? Probably a 6½. I can still walk into it, I can shut the closet door, and there is still a little bit more counter space for more things just to be placed on it “for now.” It would get a much higher number (and most of you out there, and people around here, would look at it and think that’s for sure), but I have seen it worse, much. And, I know that last summer, I paid Carley and three of her friends, who were raising money for an Italy trip, big bucks to “organize" it. They got a great start on it and miraculously, I have undone very little of what they did (you should see how nicely the hundred pieces of tissue paper are folded and how all the rolls of ribbon are all in one place). However, they could only do so much in an afternoon (half a closet to be precise)and many a cabinet and drawer still need order. Remember that door number two that I conveniently skipped; well…its task was to clean out the farthest cabinet in the room. You see, I know myself pretty well and putting “organize craft room” on one piece of paper for a task was something that would never happen. So, I broke it down, one cabinet at a time. I still did not feel up for the task; so, I went on to door number 4. “Organize middle cabinet in craft room” (honest,the whole box is not about the craft room). I felt I could not escape it; so, I decided I would go back to door number two and would tackle the job. Now, because I know what is in that far cabinet and I know the stories that I can tell from just one shelf alone and because several other of my blogging siblings caught my disease of lengthy blog writing this week, I also decided that I would keep this blog short by just introducing what I will be taking on this week. Task behind door number two, here I come.

Oh oh,maybe this one won’t be so short because there is something else I want to introduce you to(actually, this one you all know well, it just may be a little fuzzy in your memory). It is a very welcome visitor, unlike the unwanted visitor that Bill blogged about, that showed up this weekend. Spring! I say "visitor" because I have lived 50 years in the Midwest and an all out celebration during the first week of March of spring's arrival is entirely out of the question. A hearty embrace to a “visitor” is not. If you are nice to visitors, they might stick around. Here are the top ten reasons I knew it was spring knocking on our door.

1. I went outside for a run and returned immediately to swap the long sleeve shirt for a short sleeved one then still actually sweated.

2. The soccer chairs (now Lacrosse chairs) were sprung from their hooks on the wall. Carley’s team won both games; she was an animal and scored a total of 8 goals.

3. When we went to the dog park, there were tons of new doggie faces and boy were their tails a waggin’, excited, I am sure, about the nice weather. One was so excited it climbed on Carley’s lap and well, peed.

4. When I went to start the charcoal, I went straight to the classifieds. No wasting time, this time, on which part of the paper to part with. And I stayed out there, and stayed out there, to make sure they were lit of coarse.

5. I got reacquainted with sidewalk chalk. Kelley had a gig (no he has not joined a rock band, it was a lawyer thing; I call it a gig because his name was in the program) in Lawrence on Friday. So we went to KC on Thursday night. Friday, while he did his thing, I watched Nico and we became Picassos with the chalk.

6. We also got reacquainted with Cayden’s (who remember is almost 5'9", but only 13) love for really short shorts. Wow, does that girl have some legs.

7. When we got home from our trip Saterday evening, we were greeted by a lovely tree frog serenade.

8. At lunch yesterday I did not ask about the soup de jour and later craved chicken salad for some reason.

Number 9 and 10 are the top two reasons I know spring is preparing to stay.

9. I read a lovely, touching blog about the birth of a baby goat. Actually, I read it a few times; thanks for sharing, Susie.

10. And lookie who we found in our bed (one of our outdoor ones of course).

Happy almost Spring everyone!! Now I must get busy. It will be hard to work inside tomorrow, but yet another sign of spring is in the forecast: showers and storms.