Thursday, January 31, 2008


The tree is DOWN! Yes, on Saturday I took the girls to Chinese school (72 miles away) and while we were gone, Chris folded the tree branches all down and boxed the sections up and took the whole she-bang to the basement. What a guy!

Did I mention he threw his back out the Sunday before that? (Riddle: How are a sock and Irene's rear end alike? Answer: They both throw Chris' back out. Explanation: Years ago, he threw his back out when leaning over to get a sock. Recently, he threw his back out when leaning over to help Irene wash her rear end.)

He says he took it slow, used a hand cart, and did not rush (it took him about 6 hours). I swear - it was a wonderful gift to me to come home and find the tree put away! Yippeeee!!

Thankfully, taking Christmas decorations down in late January appears to be within the range of normal where I live, as you will see from these two photos of one of our neighbor's homes:

I love that they still light outside lights on January 30! Fun!

There were three Christmas ornaments that I did not pack away. I just couldn't do it. Every year, I make dough ornaments with my daughter(s). This year, each of them made a handprint and painted and decorated it as they wished. They are so fun and beautiful. I want to hang them somehow so I can enjoy them all year. My nest has expanded by one precious girl this year. It is so amazing to have these three handprints and what they represent. I am one fortunate Mama. I will post a photo of them tomorrow. For now (nearly 1am - normal for me) I must get to bed. I take (RE-take, I passed it first in 1992) the state real estate Broker exam tomorrow morning. It is snowing, but the streets won't keep me from this next step on the way to my own company. I won't ask for prayers or good wishes. (But, I won't refuse any sent my way, either! LOL!) I have 100% faith that success is mine. :-) And, I am grateful, grateful, GRATEFUL!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

New Tricks for an Old Dog

I really am a Dog. In Chinese New Year terms! Yes, I am 37 now. hahahaha. The animals cycle every 12 years, so I always make that joke. I am 49. :-)

They say that an intelligent person learns something new everyday. I fancy myself an intelligent person. So, I am going to share with you a few of the things I have learned lately. These are supported by photographic evidence, to back my claims. ha

Firstly, having a bare Christmas tree will not bother a cool social worker (hi, Carol!) one tiny bit during a 6 month post placement home visit.

(BTW -- It looks exactly the same as I am writing this. I am considering Carol's advice to add some Chinese New Year ornaments next.)

I also learned that even when you awaken to 6" of fresh snow and cannot make it to Chinese school 72+/- miles away, it is still Swimsuit Weather! (indoors) You will note that May layered her suits for such a chilly day.

I made reference to Beach Blanket Bingo, Gidget, and Frankie and Annette, and had to explain each one. I also got a preview of the 3 blank stares I will get when they are teenagers and I am lecturing them on one thing or another.

Are they cute, or what??

I also learned that if you keep at something, you WILL succeed! I call this "stay on the bus" because when I was about 20 I used to take the bus to work. One VERY SNOWY DAY, I was on the bus and it took about 2 hours to go just a few blocks from my apartment. I decided to get off the bus and go back home for the day. The following day, when I went to work, I got a talking-to from my boss (a little late-20's Spitfire named Courtney). She told me that I should have STAYED ON THE BUS and I would have gotten to work. She just kept telling me throughout the day, "Stay on the bus!" So, not being one to let any funny thing go, I adopted the phrase when I want to voice determination and dedication. If you want to get anywhere in life, you have to STAY ON THE BUS!

I have been faithfully cramming real estate knowledge back into my Old Dog Brain in order to RE-pass the state real estate Broker exam. I am building my own company, but I passed the exam too long ago (1992). I must re-take it. Well, let me tell you -- the things you need to know in order to pass the exam have NOTHING to do with the actual process of listing and selling real estate! So, I took a cram/test prep course on-line in order to place all those useful items back into my brain. I stayed on the bus, and passed 5 practice tests with a score of 90% or better. I am ready to go take the state exam! Stay tuned.

I also learned that you can leave out one of the two sticks of butter in a chocolate chip cookie recipe and the cookies are still GREAT!
Yes, I was a bit distracted by my 3 girls yesterday, as we were home celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! Don't you think that chocolate chip cookies, with the blended colors, is a good celebration? We have great reverence for MLK, Jr. in our house. We all know that without him, a multi-cultural family such as ours would not be "normal" or as readily acceptable as we are today. Thank you, Martin Luther King, Jr.!!

Monday, January 7, 2008

January 7

This is my family in 1962. Look at my Dad. What a guy! Four daughters and still smiling! Hee!

Today is my Daddy's birthday. But, I no longer have his physical presence on this Earth. Still -- this date holds a huge significance to me and to all who love him.

Yes, this date carries a special weight to it.

I miss my Daddy every day. Some days, I am strong. And, I know that I owe that strength to my parents and all they showed to me in so many ways.

Some days, I am weak. And, I “just want my Daddy.” I know that many of you know this feeling, too.

On many of those low and needy moments, I often go to Daddy’s Bible. I have the Bible that he used from 1983 until his death in April of 2006. I look for guidance from the book, from my heavenly father, and from my Daddy.

Yesterday was one of those days. I have a habit of sort of closing my eyes, and letting his Bible fall open where it may. Yesterday, it fell to Mathew 7:7, which says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

That really hit me. What treasures and opportunities are ours at all moments! It matches very well with my own personal beliefs. If you ask for something … sure enough, it shows up! This can run both “good” and “bad.” What you seek, you will surely find. If you knock, doors/insight/knowledge/wealth/health/opportunity open up to you. All this is so true.

My small and limited human mind just drags when life drags, for whatever reason. When, really, I should take note of this verse and ASK! SEEK! And KNOCK!! Be open to all the good.

I swear when I read this, I could smell my Daddy. Some of you may laugh. And, perhaps it was just a sense memory that is built into my brain. But, I felt an olfactory (sp?) presence of Daddy after I read that verse.

And, suddenly … I did not feel so weak anymore! Because I knew (and know) that it is just his physical presence that is missing. So much more of his essence remains with and in all of us who loved him in so many, many ways.

So, let us celebrate and toast our memories of Daddy, and experience with him. I detest the overuse of the word “Blessing” in today’s world. It is used so much that it is diluted and too well-worn. But, what a blessing to have had this FANTASTIC Daddy.

I also want to say "Thank You" to my mom, for having the good sense to choose this man for her husband and the father of her children. What a smart young couple they were to choose each other for life mates!
For those of you with fathers who are alive and whose physical presence you can see, feel and be with. Be with your Dad. Enjoy him. Be thankful. Hold that big, strong hand while you still can.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Yack Yack Yackity-Yack

OK. So, I've been thinking about this blog and what it is supposed to "do" ... or "be."

What is a Blog anyway? I know it is a "Web Log." But, is that a diary? Ooooooo ... now you all can peek in at my super secret thoughts. My heart's desires. My secret stuff.

Uh huh. Like I would post that stuff here. ha.

OK. Maybe it is a journal? But, do you really want to read my "I went here, ate this, saw him/her, and felt this" type of stuff? Perhaps you do.

But, do people really want to read the Yackity-Yack that runs through my mind and my life?

Am I self-centered enough to think that people will be interested in my ramblings?

Then I think of all the blogs I read and faithfully follow. I love them! Some I have read for 5+ years. Some are complete strangers (wish I knew how to place a link to brainhell's blog here - I will learn). Some are friends (wish I knew how to link to blogs such as Marji's, Stefani/Ammon's, Sharon's, and all the many MANY adoption-related blogs that I follow).

Do I do a mind dump here? If so, how do avoid hurting anyone's feelings? Even when I think I am careful and kind, someone inevitably takes me the wrong way. Do the people who "know me well" really and truly know me so little? Or is it I who do not show them who I truly and honestly am?

Perhaps I will use this blog to ponder. Which is something I do in constant measure.

And, aside from content, how much and how often do I post? If I post a lot, then how fo I fit Real Life into my 24 hours? I often hear people say, "I don't have time for that." Yes you do! You have 24 hours in your day, just like I do. Just as we all do. You CHOOSE not to spend an amount of your time on thus and such. That is fine. But, you do have the time. Perhaps it is the desire that is lacking? How much of my 24 do I want to spend blogging?

ANYWAY -- and how will my readers deal with my rambling off to this side and that? How is one to stay on focus in this format?

And, who is looking in here? It could be anyone. My natural inclination is to speak of my family and my work. But, I don't want to lay my life and it's contents open to everyone under the sun. I have 177 people on another list I maintain. But, I know each 0f those people. I approved their memberships. They have permission to peek at my life. But, here ... any0ne can be watching.

Is it safe? Big Brother --are you out there? Nevermind. I know that you are.

So. I have to decide what to make of this.

When I am working (I am a real estate broker who works from home) and I have clients (I have taken long stretches of time off to add children to our family and to attach with them and raise them - let alone ENJOY them) I try to approach my day as if my clients can see me. Would they approve of my actions and involvements? I never want to List property. I want to SELL property. In this market, that take dedicated efforts!

Those efforts do not (normally) include blogging. LOL!

So. Balance must always be my priority. As it always is.

I will try to give you something interesting. For now -- I will ponder what in the world that might be.