Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Chase has started attending a karate class here in Las Vegas. Some of you may remember that he was involved with karate when he was 7 or so in Austin. He always enjoyed it, but other sports and activities got in the way and we haven't pursued it again until now. His teacher looks like he is 25, but today he told the kids that he's been doing karate for 31 years, so it seems more likely that he is pushing 40.

Karate is good in so many different ways. First of all, Chase's good friend (and kid I like as well) Rymmel is in the class...let there be no mistake - at this point, I'd put him in competitive cow tipping if he had a friend in the class...but I digress.

The instructor is great - he's very authoritative, demands respect and attention, and he obviously also loves kids. He's a some-enormous-degree black belt, has won gold medals in Olympic competition, and I'd be afraid if I met him in some dark alley somewhere.

The main reason I am so in favor of karate is the self-discipline and character it demands of the kids. If Chase can get to a black belt under this guy, he will have attained an amazing goal, AND he will know it. Chase is a fantastic kid - he's extremely bright, he's great at games, he's sweet, he's kind, he's fast and loves all things athletic, but one thing he lacks is focus. Karate, I think, will help hone that focus, which is helpful in every part of life.

A bonus - after four weeks of karate, he can almost touch his toes now! Now, if only his mama could say the same... KEEEEEE-YA!

Friday, July 25, 2008

I have to admit it

So, my beloved brother, his divine wife and their oh-so-gorgeous baby girl just moved back to the Sawth. Sawth Ca'lina, to be exact. Just about 10 seconds AFTER we moved within 4 hours of Pasadena...where they've lived, like, forever. I'm TRYING not to take it personally!! No, seriously, they have been wanting to move back to the south since they had their little bundle of joy, and I'm happy for them. They are thrilled to be living close to family again.

I, on the other hand, am experiencing some unexpected feelings about the whole situation. Now, those that know me know I got out as quickly as possible, and I have no desire whatsoever to live in SC again. Except, it hadn't occurred to me that if I did live in SC (or thereabouts), the 'rents could pop in for a few hours and say hi. Without taking off of work. Without buying a plane ticket. Without spending hours and days in airports. Or, if I felt like it, I could drive the three hours or so to visit said 'rents just because it's Tuesday. Without all of those things listed above.

Now, don't get me wrong - I'm not packin' the house up for anyone...but it has surprised me how much I feel like I'm missing out on all of the family togetherness that's going on out there in the sticks...um, I mean SC. Kinda feels like there's a party going on, and I wasn't invited or something. As irrational as I know it is, I feel left out.

Doesn't seem likely that we are moving ANYWHERE anytime soon, and even less likely that we would move South, if we did m-m-m-(hack, cough, wheeze)move (can't believe I said the "m" word...), but it's kind of a strange feeling to suddenly miss family that I've not lived within 1000 miles of for over 20 years!!

Oh, and my dadododododo (yes, I called him a dodo...but I meant it in the nicest possible way) is a stand-up guy. A real peach! This is my gratuitous reference to my paternal unit who has been complaining that he hasn't made it into my blog yet. HI DAD! I love ya!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Summertime...and the livin is easy

Every year, this happens. It's May, the school year is wrapping up, there are 8 gazillion projects, tests, papers, etc due and I just can't wait for summer. Ahhh, lazy days of hanging out, playing games, spending time exploring our new city, swimming in the pool, playing with friends, life is good.

Then, it's late July. Chase is playing WAY too many video games, watching WAY too much TV, drinking soda every day for lunch (caffeine free root beer, but still), and generally driving me nuts.

The problem would be much alleviated if I could only win the lottery...then we'd spend the summer hanging out with friends and family all over the country, and jetting to the Caribbean for the weekend. Now, THAT would be a fun summer. But, alas, we don't actually PLAY the lottery, so our chances of winning it are poorer than most!

We're in the home stretch - a little less than a month left in the summer. Too much time to just say, whatever, ok, play your gameboy all day, I don't care! So, I'm trying to plan our day with some fun things to do and still keep within a very strict budget. It's hard!! But, this happens every year, and I knew it would happen this year too.

I'm thinking we'll head to the nuclear warhead museum today - we'll save on our light bill if we glow, right? :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Livin la vida loca

Historically, when I have been new in a city, I have asked the people I meet IF they like living there and WHY. In Green Bay, a lot of people have lived there all of their lives, and it's kind of a puzzling question to them. "Well, of course I like living here, who wouldn't?" And, if you've never lived in Green Bay, you might not understand that. But, I do. People like living there because there's a real sense of community. When it snows, neighbors you have never met come with their snow blowers and clear your driveway. We're all in it together, and it really shows. It's a small-town family kind of place.

In Denver, there's a saying that no one who lives in Denver is really FROM Denver. And there is some truth to that. Denver is a destination kind of place. A lot of people want to live there because of the beautiful scenery, the great climate and the close proximity to a myriad of outdoor activities. Denver is a fantastic city with a lot going on, and we very much enjoyed living there.

So, now we're in Vegas. I have asked a lot of people IF they like living here and WHY. I get very similar answers, for the most part. Yes, they like living here, but it took some time living here to be able to say that. How much time?? Three years is the usual answer. (sigh) When you ask WHY, you get a lot of the usual answers...the entertainment, the weather (9 months out of the year, I hear it's great), and all of the perks of living in a big city. I recently asked a store clerk (to be fair, he was working at a teenage clothing store and was about 20, so I should have expected it) WHY he liked living here. His answer?

"Where else can you get a full meal at 3am? I mean, if I moved somewhere else, I'd probably starve."


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Job search, continued

Yesterday, when I went to the church/school to put in my resume, I met two of the women in the office, but the office manager wasn't there. I filled out the world's longest application and turned it in with my resume and recommendation letter, and the women suggested I come by today to meet Sherry, the office manager. Here's how it went today when I returned:

Me: (walking into office, seeing the two women I met yesterday and smiling but not having said a word yet)
Woman #1: Oh, hi STQ! Sherry, she's here!
Woman #2: (stands up and rushes over to where I'm standing) Sherry, remember her? She's the one we were telling you about!
Sherry: (stops talking to whomever she was talking to and comes over to shake my hand with a big smile) Hi STQ! I read over your application earlier today. So nice to meet you!

So, that seemed like a warm welcome to me - they remembered not only me, but my name and the fact that I filled out an application yesterday. AND they were talking about me! (Not always a good thing, but I figure in this case it probably is...)

So, Sherry said she is working on the job description and she would call me next week. For an interview, I wonder, or to start work?? :) Yes, I'm getting ahead of myself, but even the most jaded of you have to admit that it all sounds positive!

I was talking to a friend today and marveling at my lack of faith. I honestly thought that since I had the perfect job in Austin and the perfect job in Denver, that I had used up all of my "luck" and there was no way I could find here what I had either in Austin or in Denver. If this were to work out, it would be exactly like the situation in Denver. I think God shakes His head at me in frustration A LOT!! He has always been faithful to take care of me, and still I doubt Him! I'm so thankful that my lack of faith hasn't changed who He is or His willingness to take care of me, despite myself!! I absolutely know that if this job doesn't work out, He has something waiting for me that will be great.

I'll update again when I hear anything, but keep praying!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Oh the sights you can see...

We just got back from a road trip to San Diego, CA. One of the fun things about road trips is the weird things you see. Like the THING somewhere in the middle-of-nowhere Arizona (see earlier post for pics). If you keep your eyes open, you can find unusual and note-worthy (or not so much) things to see, take pictures of and possibly blog about.

Here in Southern Nevada, we're ALL ABOUT visual. I mean, you can see the lights from the Strip from space, I'll bet! So, why was I surprised to see that we also boast the world's largest thermometer. Yep, right slap in the middle of nowhere, Nevada, somewhere between San Diego and Las Vegas, you can find this:

One of my favorite aspect of this picture is the "Bob's Big Boy" sign next to it. The sign actually has absolutely nothing to do with the thermometer...but it seemed appropriate anyway!
The sign on the bottom of the thermometer says "Gateway to Death Valley." Makes me sweat just thinking about it!
Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of the store across the street from the thermometer...they were selling Alien Jerky. I wonder if the US Government knows about this???

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I'm back!

We have had a busy week since I last posted. My stepdaughter, Megan, arrived for a week-long visit, and we were in a whirlwind of activity. Megan is 18, and is headed to college in the Fall, so we enjoyed a nice week with our newly-adult daughter! Among the activities during her visit was a Cirque de Soleil show called Mystere. It was fantastic! I haven't seen a Cirque show before, so it was really a treat to see all of the incredible gymnastics and showmanship. We all enjoyed it very much. We also did a lot of shopping on the strip - which is fairly high-end, so we tried things on, made fun of weird-looking outfits and generally enjoyed spending time together.

We also went to San Diego while she was here. The zoo is always fun, and we very much enjoyed the cooler temperatures. We spent some time at the beach, which was one of the highlights of the week. I had forgotten just how cold the Pacific ocean is...well, it's cold! But, the waves were gigantic, and we loved jumping the waves, swimming through them and all four of us got surprised at least once by a wave that knocked us around a bit, which is always fun. We also built a great sandcastle, and were impressed by my "fortified" walls that protected the castle. I'm sure, due to my engineering expertise, the castle still stands...three days later.

But, all good things must come to an end...and we are now back home resting up after a busy week's vacation. Funny how you have to rest after your vacation, but that's the case around here today!! Luckily, it's cloudy, windy, rainy and 84 today here in Vegas, so it's a perfect day to just kinda chill.

We went to a new church today. And we absolutely LOVED it! It's a non-denominational church with a great kids' program, a big emphasis on missions, a dynamic minister and enough people to fill the pews, but still small enough to announce when a member has had a baby!! We loved it. It's called Cornerstone Christian Church. And here is another interesting and potentially divine intervention. You know that I'm looking for a job in a school so I can be home with Chase, right? We sat in the pews in the middle. There happened to be two couples behind us who were talking about the school the church has. One mentioned that they are looking for someone to work in the front office of the school. The school is a feeder school into the middle/high school we want Chase to attend. If you aren't aware, I worked in the front office of a school in Denver, and LOVED it. I also have a very enthusiastic letter of recommendation from my principal there.

So, my plan for tomorrow is to bribe the absolute heck out of Chase to be the best kid on the planet (ok, he is already the best kid on the planet, but if I bribe him, he can really put it over the top...), print my resume, make myself presentable and head straight to the school to get that job. I'm really excited about the whole proposition because it sounds like it would be perfect - I could be there after school, school breaks, summer, etc with Chase and still work nearly full-time. That is the perfect scenario for this mom!!

Anyway, I'm really excited about it - of course, there is no guarantee that I will get the job, but I'm qualified, I'm enthusiastic, I have good references and experience and if I can get Chase's halo on just right, he'll have them BEGGING me to work for them!! :) I'll blog again tomorrow and let ya know how it all went, but I feel like this just may be an answer to prayer. If you're the praying kind, say one for me! I need a good hair-day tomorrow...

Friday, July 11, 2008

One of my pet peeves

As divine hubby would say...how do you pick just one? As I get (ahem) older, I've noticed that I have more and more pet peeves. I mean, apostrophes have always driven me nuts. Divine hubby suggested years ago that I keep a photo archive of the apostrophes, and sadly, I have missed photo ops galore. BUT, I did take a real jewel yesterday. This is a sign at my local library. The LIBRARY, people! You would think that people who loan books to people for a living would be able to handle a simple apostrophe. I am so glad to live in the United State of America. (sigh)
My favorite apostrophe blunder was found at a WalMart in Atlanta, TX (yes, there is such a place, and no, it's not much like Atlanta, GA). I would give my left leg to have taken a picture of it, because I am certain it will never be repeated. It was December, and there was a giant display of Christmas-themed popcorn tins for sale. There were four handwritten signs around it that ALL said the same thing. I kid you not, folks.
"Christma's Popcorn $5.00"
Oh. My. Gosh. Kill me now!! I mean, to a grammar freak, with a special emphasis in apostrophes, such a sighting can prove fatal. But, I would hate to miss Christma. I mean, all the Christma presents, Christma trees, Christma decorations...and especially Christma's popcorn. my favorite. So the popcorn belongs to Christma? Why is she selling her beloved popcorn at WalMart? Does she do special orders for Easter? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!
Do you see why divine hubby thinks I'm a nut? :)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A 10-yr-old's priorities

Last night, Chase, divine hubby and I were taking a walk and talking about life, love and the pursuit of happiness. In particular, we were talking about priorities. Here's how it went:

C: "Family is the most important thing...well, except for God. He's first, then family."
DH: "That's right - but, what's next?"
STQ: (thinking hopefully) Character? Honesty? Education? Love? Grace? Friends?
C: "Oh, you know what's next, Daddy."
DH: "Friends, right?"
STQ: (friends would be good)
C: "No, friends are important too, but I think Smackdown is next important. Friends are fourth."
STQ: (falls on the sidewalk clawing at my eyes in horror, ok, maybe that's an exaggeration, but I don't think I looked happy)
C: (patting me on the shoulder with sympathy) "Mommy, it's ok. I can say friends are third if you want me to."

In retrospect, I am so very proud that Chase at least put God and family in front of professional wrestling... that might not be true of EVERY 10-yr-old in the world, right? I have always been pleased with the way Chase sees God and the world. I remember one time I told Chase I missed him while he was at school all day, and he said, "Mom, you weren't alone. God was here with you!" And he is so right! I think Chase has a wonderful sense of God and His presence in our lives. What I am trying to work on is Chase having his own relationship with God. That's harder than instilling a sense of God's omnipresence, I think. It's hard, when you are a very concrete-thinking child like Chase, to understand that it is possible to have an actual relationship with someone you can neither see nor touch.

I think it's hard for adults to understand that, as well! It's easy to kind of forget God until you're headed for a car accident or seeing someone you love in sudden peril. It's said there are no atheists in foxholes...I'm not sure that is really true, but I think in a life-or-death situation, the natural reaction is,"Oh, God..." And isn't it great that we are so hard-wired to call to God when we are in danger? It speaks of the truth of a "God-shaped hole" that we all have.

So, how do I help Chase fill his "God-shaped hole" with his very own relationship with God? I think one of the best ways is having him involved with a church that believes a vibrant, growing relationship with Christ is important. The churches we have gone to all have had that as their primary goal for the kids' program - that the kids have a personal, loving, growing, daily relationship with Christ. I love that! I also try to make sure Chase sees me doing my Bible study. Honestly, it's easier for me if I do it before he wakes up in the morning, but I have realized that maybe it's more important for him to see that Mommy spends time with God every day. The other goal that accomplishes is that I might actually DO IT every day! :) During my deep blue funk the other day, God and I had a long, tearful heart-to-heart about my feelings. I wonder if it's a coincidence that I woke up yesterday feeling better about everything? Hmmmmmmmmmmm?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hope Deferred

I was in a deep blue funk yesterday - the likes of which I haven't seen in years, honestly! But, I had a GREAT night's sleep (the first in awhile) and am feeling 100% better today. When trying to figure out what exactly caused the day to be funky yesterday, I came to a realization. There has been a long-term situation in my life that has caused stress and difficulty for me emotionally and physically. I think I have been counting on that situation to magically disappear this year. And it hasn't. And it's reared its ugly little head again recently in a big way.

A good friend gave me the name for it - hope deferred. I've lived so long with the absolute certainty that this stress in my life would be absolutely gone by now, and when I recently realized that it hadn't gone away, I fell off the cliff I've been hanging onto for all of these years. Luckily, my divine hubby and my dear friend caught me, but I fell a long way down before they did!

Anyway, it's funny how you can be in a deep blue funk (one of my favorite Garfield sayings from WAAAAAY back) and simply not know how you got there! Honestly, I spent yesterday wondering if somebody kicked my dog and burned down my house and I simply forgot to notice! But, today is starting off much better, and Chase and I have some fun things planned, so it's going to be a good day. Thanks for reading my daily whine and for caring about your constantly relocating girl! I wish all of you, my friends and family, a good day today too!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The day I'm having

I started to think of the different "kinds" of days one can have.

Bad days
Good days
Bad hair days, but still a good day day
Rainy days
Sunny days
Blue days
Grey days
Just plain old days

And the list goes on and on. I think most people's every day-kind of day falls in the last category. "How was your day, dear?" Is usually answered by divine hubby with a "Fine. (divine hubby, while divine, isn't very talkative)" Sometimes with a more enthusiastic answer, either good or bad, or sometimes with a story or two, but usually the day is simply fine. When you are new in a city where no one ventures outside, and you alone are responsible for the overseeing and entertainment of a very precocious 10-yr-old boy, your day is a little more defined. A good day is defined by being busy and occupied for a majority of it.

For example - there is a free movie being shown every Tuesday and Wednesday here. Today's offerings are Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles and a Veggie Tales movie. Chase refuses to see TMNJ for reasons I have not yet been able to discern, so I informed him that we're headed to see Bob and Larry sing and dance this morning. He's a little less than thrilled, but Veggie Tales is always funny, once you get into it.

My day, so far, is feelin' kinda blue. Not really sure why - I went to the Beth Moore Bible Study at the 1st Church of the Holy Fog Machine last night, and it was REALLY good! I even met someone new (whose name I have already forgotten...) and we chatted afterwards for awhile. I came home feeling really good about life and things in general. I guess I should have gotten out of bed on the other side this morning, because that feeling of wellness didn't last until today.

So, that's my morning whine...if you need to share your morning whine, call me or respond here - I'd love to hear what's wrong with YOUR life for a change! :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Summer Homework?? Am I nuts?

As most of you know, Chase will be in the 5th grade this year. Since it's an election year, I had a flash of brilliance and decided that Chase should read a biography about John McCain and one about Barack Obama. This summer. During non-school time. Instead of playing, reading Calvin & Hobbes comics, swimming, hanging out with friends, and other fun summer activities. Ok, not instead, but in addition to. I even compromised and got the very easiest biographies I could find in the kids' section of the library (although he's reading on a high school level...)!

How's it going? sigh.

He has reluctantly read two chapters of the John McCain book in two weeks. I guess his mama needs to make a regular reading time for such things if she wants it to happen, huh? I really thought he might be interested in reading them - he's pretty interested in the political process, and we spend a fair amount of time talking about the candidates and the process in general, but I had forgotten that he is completely uninterested in ANY book that I may have at some point looked at, considered, thought of or (heaven forbid) paged through. Silly me. I mean, you'd think being shot down over enemy lines, held as a POW for 5 years and tortured would be exciting reading for any 10-yr-old boy!!!

So, I've renewed my resolve to have him read them. Every day, a chapter (like 8 pages...I'm so mean), and I'll probably only have to renew the books once. I really think it's a good idea for him to know a little bit about the man who will lead our country, potentially until he is able to VOTE! (Yes, that scares me...) And, while divine hubby and I hope he will follow in our rather conservative footsteps, I want him to make his own decisions on such things. I figure, in order for him to really make a good decision, he needs to have looked on both sides of the aisle and know how both candidates grew up, etc. This political season proves to be one of the most exciting and interesting seasons I can remember, and I, for one, am enjoying it.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

have you noticed...

The ad to the right of this post is for FOG MACHINES? Makes me laugh out loud, friends. If you don't know why, read several posts below when I talk about fog machines - just cracks me up! Maybe I should buy one...do you think? I mean, I DO live in Vegas, right? :)

Kids' favorite activity

So, yesterday, I made plans to hang out at my friend (yes, I have one of those!!) and neighbor Melissa's house for the afternoon. Our pool is out of order until today, and she invited us over to swim. When we got there, she asked if I could watch the kids for a little bit and she was going to run an errand. So, I sat under her shaded gazebo, read a book and looked up occasionally to make sure all heads were above the water. The youngest kid in the pool was nearly 8, so I didn't have to supervise TOO carefully...

It was Chase and four girls, all aged 8-12. I would like to say they played for 31/2 hours, but in reality, they played for 10 minutes and argued for 3 hours and 20 minutes.

Ok, I exaggerate a LITTLE, but I mean, I have never heard so much arguing! "Don't splash me." "I don't want to get my hair wet." "I just got highlights - don't splash me!" (side note: her hair was already wet and why do you float in a pool and not want to get your hair wet? Plus, who the heck gets 8 year olds highlights? But I digress) "Don't spit water at me." "I don't want you to push my float to the side." "I'm gonna tell MOM." "That's my float - I need it." and endless choruses of "STOP IT!" (sigh) Luckily, I brought a book, so I could mostly ignore it. (Before you call CPS, see above where I looked up to count heads...)

What's funny is that all kids had fun. There was the occasional pouty face, but no one wanted to leave the pool and miss out on all the "fun!" Honestly, if I had been part of that group, I would have made ANY excuse so I could go home and get away from all of the arguing/complaining/fussing/whatever. I don't remember arguing 24/7 with my friends when I was 10...but maybe I just don't remember! If any of you readers were friends with me when I was 10, please let me know if you remember differently!!!

One blessing to having only one kid (at home, anyway) is that I can mostly control the arguing. I can at least control how many people are arguing at any one time, and as gifted as Chase is at arguing, it's kinda hard to REALLY get it going if no one will argue back!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Aaaaah, mornings

Here in our household, we get up early. Really early. Stinkin' early. 5:06am to be exact. Ok, ok, we snooze a bit, but we're up waaaaaaay before 5:30. Last night, a late-night phone call kept us up past midnight, so (yawn) 5:06 came earlier than usual this morning!

The good thing about getting up so early is that Chase is usually not up until after 7-8am. So, divine hubby leaves for work around 6ish and I get a little time to myself. It's quiet - even though the rest of the country has been up for hours, no one calls us until at least 9, so the phone doesn't ring, no one comes to visit, and it's perfectly acceptable for me to be in my pj's in front of the computer.

When you're a mom, you understand the value of words like quiet. solitude. silence. My day is filled to the brim with game playing, activities, swimming and all of those other pesky things like housework and cooking highly-nutritious meals :). So, I am sitting here, sipping my chai tea, looking out at our beautiful backyard and enjoying the silence. I know all too well that it won't last for long!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Takin' it easy

I have stressed myself out about this summer's activities. Somehow, I have decided that it's HORRIBLE that Chase and I have no friends here. HORRIBLE. Why is it horrible to spend the summer hanging out with my favorite boy? He is great fun, he's interesting to talk to, he's willing to do almost anything I'm willing to pay for...and I enjoy spending time with him. Yesterday, for example, we did absolutely nuthin' until after lunch. We read, we (ok, he) played Gameboy, we chatted, but we didn't do anything! It was a nice morning!!!

A good friend mentioned that her fear, after spending a morning like that, is that "this may become the new normal." I agree, that it would be easy to get into a rut of doing nuthin' every morning, which wouldn't be healthy, but I'm determined that won't happen. But, a day, now and then, with no agenda and too much time being electronically-entertained while your mother reads a book next to you just isn't going to kill anyone!

Today, we have plans. We're going to a free movie at 10, then headed to the Strip to buy tickets to a Cirque de Soleil show, then to the children's museum. We'll be busy!!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I went to the Bible study at the 1st Church of the Holy Fog Machine, and it was great! There were probably 50+ women there, and I even met a couple! No morally-grounded 10 year old boys yet, but give me time - I'll find them!! :)