Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ever have one of those days...?

You wake up in the morning and based on the events of the previous day or evening, you know it's going to be a challenge.

But you just don't realize how bad it's going to get.

It's not even 10:00 am as I write this and my son has come home from school after inhaling and then coughing out a piece of wood. Dad handled the situation, but opted out of rushing the kid to the doctor for X-rays for splinters. So my little sonshine gets a free day home from school. No biggie, really. I don't think they're doing much in terms of academics this week.

I got an email from a friend this morning saying her whole household has gone into meltdown as well.

I'm on the third or fourth straight day of running the A/C in the office and the house which makes me cringe every time I think of the number of kilowatt hours cranking away. (See my post from May 23rd regarding electric rates.) I just paid my second lowest electric bill in two years, although only two dollars over the lowest, and I know the next one will not be so nice.

The check engine light came on in my truck last night on the way home from church, plus the fact that the driver side window shattered into a thousand pieces a couple of weeks ago. It's probably the tranny. Yikes!

My kitchen is still a shambles, although there is progress. The counter-top people are coming Monday, which means hubby will have the bottom cabinets leveled by then. Which means I should have running water, a working dishwasher, and possibly a working stove, as well, by the time he leaves to go sell fireworks.

On another good note, my nephew graduates from high school this weekend. On the other hand, I have to spend money and buy him a gift...

But God is still on His throne, and this too shall pass.

Hope your day is going better than mine!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Home of the free...

...because of the brave.

Memorial Day commemorates the U.S. service men and women who've perished in service to our country: those who've fought on foreign soils fighting the good fight, and those who remained here in the good ol' U.S. of A. providing the support necessary on all levels, from logistical to familial.

As much as we'd like to honor all men and women by name, there are a select few who are known only to God, and whose remains are afforded the utmost respect and protection: those interred in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The guard takes twenty-one steps during his walk in front of the tomb. After his about-face, he also pauses for twenty-one seconds before his return passage. The twenty-one alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.

The guards gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle. The rifle is carried on the shoulder facing away from the tomb. After he about-faces, he transfers the rifle to the outside shoulder.

The guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.

Guards must be between 5' 10" and 6' 2", and his waist size cannot exceed 30". They must commit two years of their life to guard the tomb, live in barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink alcohol on or off duty, or swear in public for the rest of their lives. They cannot disgrace the uniform or the tomb in any way.

After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as guard of the tomb. There are only four hundred presently worn. The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin.

The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet. There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of the shoe in order to make the loud click as they come to a halt. There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform. Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror. Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty.

The first six months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone, nor watch TV. All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred. Among the notables are: President Taft, Joe E. Lewis {the boxer} and Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy, {the most decorated soldier of WWII} of Hollywood fame.

In 2003, as Hurricane Isabelle was approaching Washington, DC, our US Senate & House took two days off with anticipation of the storm. On the ABC evening news, it was reported that because of the dangers from the hurricane, the military members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend the assignment. They respectfully declined the offer, "No way, Sir!" Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment, it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a serviceman.

The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930.

For more information, visit The Tomb of the Unknown at Arlington National Cemetery or Society of the Honor Guard - Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Hot, hot, hot...

Summer has hit Texas four weeks early.

We even had a power outage for about three minutes at around 4:50 this afternoon - maybe as everyone's programmed air conditioners kicked on.

Gas prices have hit the $3.88 mark, give or take, in my neck of the woods. That cost varies by location and brand. QT and RaceTrac are by far the cheapest gas most of the time.

I got my renewal notice from my electric company the other day. So I called to see what my rate was going to increase to if I stayed. The Texas electrical industry, as far as consumers are concerned, is deregulated. So the guy on the other end said my new rate was going to be 16.3¢ per kilowatt hour. I told him I was going to call around. I've been paying 12.9¢ for the past year.

So I checked online - there's a web site that compared electric company rates here in Texas. So I found 11.8¢ through September 22nd, then the rate will increase to 13.3¢. I can live with *that* increase, but I was going to be gosh-darned if I was going to pay 16.3.

So what are costs like where you live?

Friday, May 16, 2008

As promised: The End

I firmly believe we are living in the End Times. The Bible I read, the inspired word of the God I love, has told us what the signs of the times will be.

Now, not every thing has to come to pass yet, but things are falling into place, as world events, especially in the Middle East, Europe, and Russia, take place. Here is an overview of the signs. I have borrowed this list from a renowned End Times preacher and teacher, Dr. David Reagan.

I. Signs of Nature
(Matthew 24:7; Mark 13: 8; and Luke 21:11)

1. Famine
2. Earthquakes
3. Plagues
4. Signs in the Heavens (Unusual weather, new discoveries in space, UFO's, etc.)

II. Signs of Society
(Matthew 24:12,37-39 & 2 Timothy 3:1-4)

1. Lawlessness
2. Violence
3. Immorality
4. Greed
5. Selfishness
6. Hedonism
7. Rebellion
8. Despair

III. Spiritual Signs

1. Negative
1. False Christs & Prophets and their cultic groups (Matthew 24:5,11,2-4; Mark 13:6,21-22; and Luke 21:8)
2. Apostasy in the professing church (2 Thessalonians 2:3; and 2 Timothy 3:5, 4:3-4)
3. Widespread heresy in the church (2 Timothy 4:1-4)
4. Movement toward a one world religion (Revelation 17)
5. Persecution of true believers (Matthew 24:9-10; Mark 13:9,11-13; and Luke 21:12-19)
6. Outbreak of demonic and occultic activity (1 Timothy 4:1)
2. Positive
1. Outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-29)
2. Revival of Davidic worship (1 Chronicles 16:1-39; Psalm 150; and Amos 9:11)
3. Worldwide evangelism (Matthew 24:14 and Mark 13:10)
4. Understanding of Bible prophecy (Daniel 12:4,8-9)

IV. World Political Signs

1. Re-establishment of Israel. (Ezekiel 36:22-37:1-2; Zechariah 12:1-6; Matthew 24:32-34; Mark 13:28- 30; and Luke 21:29-31)
2. Arab hostility toward Israel (Ezekiel 35:1-36:7)
3. Russia as a menacing power to Israel (Ezekiel 38:1-39:16)
4. Asian nations capable of fielding an army of 200 million (Revelation 9:15-16 and 16:12)
5. Wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6-7; Mark 13:7-8; and Luke 21:10)
6. Kingdom against kingdom — that is, civil wars and ethnic wars (Matthew 24:7; Mark 13:8; and Luke 21:10)
7. Reunification of Europe (Daniel 2:41-44, 7:8, 24-25, and 9:26)
8. Movement toward a one world economy (Revelation 18)

Technological Signs

1. Nuclear weapons. (Matthew 24:22; Luke 21: 25-26; and Revelation 6:8, 8:7 and 16:2)
2. Television and satellite transmission (Revelation 11:3-12)
3. Robotics (Revelation 13:14-15)
4. Computer and laser technology (Revelation 13:16-18)
5. High speed transportation (Daniel 12:4)

VI. The Accelerator Sign

1. Population explosion (Revelation 9: 15-16 and 16:12)
2. Increase in knowledge (Dan-iel 12:4)
3. Increase in violence (Matthew 24:12)
4. Increase in transportation (Daniel 12:4)
5. Rapid disintegration of society (1 Timothy 3:1-4)
6. Signs in general to be like birth pangs, that is, increasing in frequency and intensity (Matthew 24:8)

VII. Signs of Israel

1. Regathering of the people (Isaiah 11:10-12 and Ezekiel 37:1-12)
2. Re-establishment of the state (Isaiah 66:7-8; Zechariah 12:1-6; and Matthew 24:32-35)
3. Reclamation of the land (Isaiah 35:1-2,7 and Ezekiel 36:34-35)
4. Revival of the language (Zephaniah 3:9)
5. Resurgence of the military (Zechariah 12:6)
6. Refocusing of world politics (Zechariah 12:2-3)
7. Reoccupation of Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:2-6)

For more very interesting reading on this subject, visit Dr. Reagan's web site.

Or, what really got me interested, and convinced, were a series of books written by Joel Rosenberg: The Last Jihad, The Last Days, The Ezekiel Option, The Copper Scroll, and Dead Heat (which just came out). Joel takes end time prophecy and hypothesizes on how the real events of the End Time will play out. They are very exciting, ripped from the headlines ("...tomorrow's headlines... says the Washington Post) stories. He also has a book called Epicenter, which is not fiction like the others but he shares a lot of the information he gathered when doing research for the fiction books. Visit Joel's web site for more info on the books and the End Times events happening around the world on a daily basis.

All that to say what? The End is coming. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, maybe not next month or next year, but relatively soon. If you don't know God, and have never accepted his son Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, now is the time. Accept Christ's death, burial, and resurrection - He died so that we wouldn't have to. All you have to do is believe in Him, and have everlasting life. (That's John 3:16, if it sounded somewhat familiar.)

If you have any questions, you can email me directly at: jagnikjen @ aim . com (no spaces).

A Matter of Perspective

I decided you all get a two-fer tonight, so while I'm working on the second post's content, here's this...

When listening to the mainstream media cry foul over our continued presence in Iraq, whether you agree or disagree, please remember it's all a matter of perspective. The following is shared without permission of the author, so sue me.

Iraq vs. California
Eye of the Beholder
by Victor Davis Hanson

The American Enterprise Online

War-torn Iraq has about 26 million residents, a peaceful California perhaps now 35 million. The former is a violent and impoverished landscape, the latter said to be paradise on Earth. But how you envision either place to some degree depends on the eye of the beholder and is predicated on what the daily media appear to make of each.

As a fifth-generation Californian, I deeply love this state, but still imagine what the reaction would be if the world awoke each morning to be told that once again there were six more murders, 27 rapes, 38 arsons, 180 robberies, and 360 instances of assault in California - yesterday, today, tomorrow, and every day. I wonder if the headlines would scream about "Nearly 200 poor Californians butchered again this month!"

How about a monthly media dose of "600 women raped in February alone!" Or try, "Over 600 violent robberies and assaults in March, with no end in sight!" Those do not even make up all of the state's yearly 200,000 violent acts that law enforcement knows about.

Iraq's judicial system seems a mess. On the eve of the war, Saddam let out 100,000 inmates from his vast prison archipelago. He himself still sits in the dock months after his trial began. But imagine an Iraq with a penal system like California's with 170,000 criminals - an inmate population larger than those of Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Singapore combined.

Just to house such a shadow population costs our state nearly $7 billion a year - or about the same price of keeping 40,000 Army personnel per year in Iraq. What would be the image of our Golden State if we were reminded each morning, "Another $20 million spent today on housing our criminals"?

Some of California's most recent prison scandals would be easy to sensationalize: "Guards watch as inmates are raped!" Or "Correction officer accused of having sex with under-aged detainee!" And apropos of Saddam's sluggish trial, remember that our home state multiple murderer, Tookie Williams, was finally executed in December 2005 - 26 years after he was originally sentenced.

Much is made of the inability to patrol Iraq's borders with Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey. But California has only a single border with a foreign nation, not six. Yet over 3 million foreigners who sneaked in illegally now live in our state. Worse, there are about 15,000 convicted alien felons incarcerated in our penal system, costing about $500 million a year. Imagine the potential tabloid headlines: "Illegal aliens in state comprise population larger than San Francisco!" or "Drugs, criminals, and smugglers given free pass into California!"

Every year, over 4,000 Californians die in car crashes - nearly twice the number of Americans lost so far in three years of combat operations in Iraq. In some sense, then, our badly maintained roads, and often poorly trained and sometimes intoxicated drivers, are even more lethal than Improvised Explosive Devices. Perhaps tomorrow's headline might scream out at us: "300 Californians to perish this month on state highways! Hundreds more will be maimed and crippled!"

In 2001, California had 32 days of power outages, despite paying nearly the highest rates for electricity in the United States. Before complaining about the smoke in Baghdad rising from private generators, think back to the run on generators in California when they were contemplated as future part of every household's line of defense.

We're told that Iraq's finances are a mess. Yet until recently, so were California's. Two years ago, Governor Schwarzenegger inherited a $38 billion annual budget shortfall. That could have made for strong morning newscast teasers: "Another $100 million borrowed today - $3 billion more in red ink to pile up by month's end!"

So is California comparable to Iraq? Hardly. Yet it could easily be sketched by a reporter intent on doing so as a bankrupt, crime-ridden den with murderous highways, tens of thousands of inmates, with wide-open borders.

I myself recently returned home to California, without incident, from a visit to Iraq's notorious Sunni Triangle. While I was gone, a drug-addicted criminal with a long list of convictions broke into our kitchen at 4 a.m., was surprised by my wife and daughter, and fled with our credit cards, cash, keys, and cell phones.

Sometimes I wonder who really was safer that week.

copyright: 2006 Victor Davis Hanson Victor Davis Hanson Services.

Victor Davis Hanson is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University , a Professor Emeritus at California University , Fresno , and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thursdays post...

Oops. I almost forgot to post. The problem seems to be that I can only come up with two semi-interesting topics to blog about a week. So this week, having to write five straight, is a challenge.

So what to write, what to write... Well...

This past January, I quit working in Cubbies. Apparently, minor shock waves rippled through our church's Awana leadership. What? Jen FitzGerald quit? She must have needed a break. After all, she's served for six straight years without a break...

The fact of the matter is that I didn't need a break. I love the program itself. I love being around the kids. I enjoy the friendships I make with the other leaders. But I was fed up with a few things and didn't want to deal with it anymore. I felt like I was hitting my head against a brick wall.

Now my children, especially my younger daughter, would not dare miss a Wednesday at church. Not that I didn't try to persuade her to stay home a time or two. But her bestest friends are at church, not at school (we live in a different city, different school district from our church ), and so to church we trek each and every week.

I schlep my laptop and try to get some writing done. Not always an easy task in the backseat of my car. Really, there's no out of the way place in church to set up shop and write.

So yesterday, I happen along a casual friend of mine and stop to chat. We share a gripe session about why neither of us are in the service or serving anyplace. And we cover a wide variety of topics, including our shared disappointments in our church leadership (they're human, after all) and my Cubbies frustrations. She has a few words of advice for me, which I accept, not sure what I'm going to do with them. Not that they aren't valid and good suggestions. I just don't know if I'm ready to go there.

Service is almost over (we know this because service is projected around the church hallways and in classrooms on TV) and she asks me to go to Bible study with her, which I end up doing. So we get the final lesson of six or so on forgiveness. I did get a little something out it. There's almost always a lesson in anything.

Okay, so it's time for me to let go of my frustrations and resentments, let go of my grudge, and forgive those I have held responsible. It's also time for me to get off my high horse, and humble myself. Apologize for my behavior, attitude, whatever (Ouch. Do I really hafta?), and be a part of the solution instead.

I have some really great ideas for the Cubbies program. Hopefully, my ideas will be accepted and I will be given a chance to see if we can make them work. Hopefully, the church leadership will support me, and even help me if necessary.

As a side note and a lead in to tomorrow's post, as Bible study ended, someone asked what the next lesson was going to be. The teacher was torn between two - one of which is studying the signs of the End Times. Now that's a subject that fascinates me. I sent the teacher an email and told him how much I'd enjoy that lesson.

So then, until tomorrow ~

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I've been tagged...

My friend Sandra has tagged me to post a specific passage of the book I'm reading. The problem is that I'm not currently *reading* anything. I've got an audio book going, but they don't bother with page numbers.

But I've got to post because I promised my mother. So instead of posting what I'm reading, I'm going to post what I'm writing, instead. The following is an excerpt from one of my current works-in-progress. It's a sweet contemporary romance titled Fighting for Love.


“Gemma?” The whispered plea was fervent and full of fear.
“This is Gemma.”
“It’s Diane Huffman.”
“What’s wrong, Diane?”
“It’s Mike. He’s drunk and he’s out of control. The boys are downstairs cowering in a corner. I had to come up and get Sophie. His screaming woke her up.”
In the background, Gemma could hear the baby crying and Diane’s husband bellowing. “I’ll be the—”
“I gotta go—he’s calling for me.” The line went dead.
Gemma flew out of bed, jumping into her clothes as quickly as she could. She dialed Steven’s cell phone number as she flew down the stairs to the parking lot. Please pick up, she begged silently.
“Gemma, what’s wrong?”
“Mike Huffman is in a drunken rage.”
“Sheet. What’s the address?”
“I don’t know. They’re on Carswell. You mowed their lawn last summer.”
“I’ll find it.”
A few minutes later, Gemma pulled up in front of the Huffman’s house. All the downstairs lights were on. The garage door was open, as was the front door. She could hear Mike Huffman from the street. Her heart pounded as she got closer to the house. She could hear the baby crying, near hysteria.
She should probably wait until Steven arrived, but he must’ve been off tonight or he’d have beaten her here.
She couldn’t imagine what those poor children were thinking or feeling right about now. Gemma looked down the street hoping to see headlights heading in her direction.
When she heard Diane scream, Gemma couldn’t wait any longer. Moving through the garage, she pushed through the open door into the kitchen. Her heartbeat echoed so loud in her own ears, she was surprised it didn’t announce her presence.
“Mike, no!”
Gemma ran into the living room. “Mr. Huffman. Mike. Please, stop. You’re scaring your children.”
The man’s bloodshot eyes turned in her direction. “Who the hell are you?” he yelled.
“My name is Gemma. I was your family’s Love Thy Neighbor liaison while you were gone.”
“Is that so?”
Gemma nodded and took a step toward Diane.
“Don’t go near her!” Mike yelled.
Sophie screamed.
“I just want the baby, Mr. Huffman. Can I get Sophie?”
Mike eyeballed her and then looked at his screaming, red-faced, snot-nosed daughter and finally nodded.
Moving slowly toward Diane, Gemma held out her arms. Diane did the same and Gemma clutched the little girl to her chest.
“Get away from her!” Mike shouted and pointed to where Gemma had first entered the room. “Did you know she cheated on me?”
Gemma’s eyes widened in surprise and she looked at Diane who shook her head.
“Don’t lie, you whore.”
Gemma caught sight of the boys in the corner; the older boy with his arm around his younger brother. Both pair of eyes were wide with fear, but neither one of them cried, although the littler one seemed close.
“Mr. Huffman, why do you think your wife was having an affair?”
“’Cause all I’ve heard out of those two since I got back is Mr. Steve this and Mr. Steve that. Who the hell is Mr. Steve, if not her damned lover?”
“Mike, why didn—”
“Shut up!”
“Hey, what’s going on here?”
Steven, thank goodness.
“Who the hell are you?”
“My name is St—”
“Staff Sergeant Whites,” Gemma said.
Steven raised an eyebrow at her.
“What are you doing in my house?”
“I saw all the lights on and thought it a bit unusual for two o’clock in the morning. So I thought I’d see if there was anything I could do.”
With Mike’s attention on Steven, Gemma inched her way toward the boys.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Mike demanded.
“The kids are upset, Mr. Huffman. I was thinking we could let them get out of here.”
Mike looked from the boys to his daughter hiccupping in Gemma’s arms. Once the yelling had stopped, she had settled down. She rubbed a chubby hand to her eyes, another ragged hiccup escaping her.
Mike nodded and Gemma knelt in front of the boys. “Get a bottle for your sister and go get in my car. It’s the red one. Okay?”
The older boy, Chris, nodded. The two of them struggled to their feet, throwing worried glances at their father. Gemma placed Sophie into Chris’s arms and pushed them into the kitchen. She heard the fridge open and close and then receding footsteps.
“Mr. Huffman, what seems to be the trouble?” Steven asked.
He pointed at Diane. “That whore has been having an affair with some loser named Steve.”
That explained Gemma’s introduction.
“Why do you think your wife’s having an affair?”
“All my kids talk about is this guy Steve. How great he is and the fun things he’s done with them.”
“Have you ever asked your wife about this guy?”
“She’d deny it, of course.”
Gemma took a couple of steps in Mike’s direction. “Mr. Huffman... I know Steve. He’s not—”
“Are you sleeping with him, too?”
Heat flooded her face. “No, Mr. Huffman. I’m trying to tell you that Steve is not that kind of guy. He doesn’t sleep with other men’s wives.”
“Like hell you say!”
Everyone turned to see Jared in the foyer.
“I knew it. So you finally got caught. It was bound to happen sooner or later,” Jared said, a bit of glee in his expression.
“Jared, no,” exclaimed Gemma.
Mikes eyes flashed and his nostrils flared. “And who the hell are you?”
“Staff Sergeant Anglin, Base Security.” Indeed. Whereas Steven had arrived in civilian clothes, Jared was in uniform.
“And how do you know him?” Mike asked Jared, indicating Steven.
“We work together,” Jared said.
Mike’s eyes narrowed as he turned his attention back to Steven. “You’re name wouldn’t happen to be Steve, would it?”
Steven nodded.
Mike roared and launched himself toward Steven. Steven was able to avoid the man’s charge, which just angered him all the more. He reached out and grabbed Gemma.
Jared pulled his weapon and aimed it at Mike. “Let her go!”
Mike pulled Gemma in front of him, using her as a shield.
“Dammit, Jared, put your weapon away,” Steven said.
“Not until he releases Gemma.”
“What’s she to you?” Mike asked.
“My sister.”
“He boinkin’ her, too? Why don’t you shoot him?” Mike cocked his head in Steven’s direction.
“Mr. Huffman, listen to me,” Steven spoke, his tone brooking no argument. “All those things were done with all the children of military members who were TDY—not just your kids. The Labor Day barbecue was at the park across from the base hospital. All the wives and their children were there. Same with the Harvest Carnival at the church. That was for all the families.”
“What about the swimming pool?”
“I did set that up for your boys, Mr. Huffman, but I swear I never set foot inside your house. Airman Bridget Fairfield was with me the whole time.”
“Never,” said Steven. “I swear.”
“Oh, yeah, right,” said Jared.
“Jared, shut up,” said Gemma.
Mike’s grip on Gemma lessened. He glared at Jared. “Are you trying to cast aspersions on my wife’s honor?”
Jared faltered a moment. Inasmuch as he wanted to catch Steven red handed, of course he couldn’t accuse this man’s wife. “No, of course not.”
All eyes turned toward Diane.
“I love you, honey. No one else. Please let Gemma go. Please.”
Mike hung his head and released Gemma. He burst into tears and sunk to the floor. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
Gemma ran to Steven.
Diane ran to her husband.
Jared moved toward Mike as well, ready to handcuff him.
“Anglin,” Steven said and shook his head.
“He assaulted Gemma.”
“Do you want to press charges, Gemma?” Steven asked.
Gemma shook her head. “No, of course not.”
Jared glared at the two of them. “So that’s the way it’s going to be, huh?” he said. “You think he’s such a great guy? Why?”
“Because he is a great guy, Jared. Why do you think he’s not?”
Jared stared long and hard at Steven. “This is neither the time nor the place for that discussion.” He pushed his cuffs back into the leather pocket on his belt. With a shake of his head, he left the Huffman’s house.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Laugh if you want to...

(As a side note, as I special treat for my mother, in honor of Mother's Day, I'll try to post every day this week.)

As as I was saying... laugh if you want to, but I have a new business idea I'm toying with. I have no idea if I'll ever pursue it, but sometimes I just get these crazy ideas that keep my mind occupied for a time.

Now, this idea didn't just come out of the complete blue. Several months ago our dryer went belly up. First the timer broke, and then the heat when asta la bye bye. Dan decided to put it on the curb. So that means... I have to go to the laundromat to do some of my laundry. I still have my washer and I like to wash the towels, sheets, and blankets and let them line dry.

So, my younger daughter and I are sitting in the laundromat closest to our house - less than a 1/4 of a mile - (Bear in mind there are three of them in very small radius) and I'm looking around this crappy, hot & humid laundromat. There's one nasty bathroom. The vending machines are way overpriced. The quarter machine doesn't always work. Dryer sheets are all over the floor. There are maybe *five* of the rolling laundry baskets. There are four benches. And the place is almost always packed. There are 35-40 washers, and 40 or so dryers.

So I'm looking around, and I'm thinking to myself, how can you make a laundromat - or as they say here in my neck of the woods: washateria - better?

My ideas:
ceiling fans to circulate the humid air
a larger dryer-to-washer ratio for those who bring already washed laundry
more benches
more than one bathroom, maybe even mens, womens, and family
an on-site attendant
indoor playground
video games
exercise equipment
bowling alley-type grill, although less expensive

Okay, I realize some of those things may seem strange or comical, but hey ~

So a couple of weeks ago, we had an extraordinary amount of laundry to do (my oldest hadn't done laundry in months probably, and yes, she has that many clothes, but she recycles, too) and our regular washateria was too crowded. So we go check out the next closest one. It's smaller than the other, and full. Next...

We pull into the parking lot, which wasn't too full, and drag in our dirty laundry.

And what to my wondering eyes should appear?

A miniature sleigh-- no wait ~

Sixty dryers!
Two TVs!
A men's and women's bathroom!
Ceiling fans!
Video games!
Free popcorn and/or coffee!
On-site attendants! (Who were cleaning the machines.)
At least 15 rolling laundry carts!

Woo hoo! I wasn't that crazy, it seems. So go ahead, laugh. I may open a laundromat someday. And I'm going to call it:


Like it??? (Hee hee)

And I had another epiphany one day as I was taking my daughter to work. There are several large vacant stores by where she works, so I'm passing by the old Petsmart, and I think: That'd be a great place for a laundromat. Okay. So I'm looking at it - and it has those sliding doors! What better for a laundromat where people are lugging baskets of clothes in and out than doors that automatically open and close!!!

Well, what do you think? Am I brilliant or what? :0)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

A little late, but here it is. I did call my mom yesterday, though, and she said I needed to update. It's been a whole week and when I go too long without posting she gets worried that I've fallen off the face of the earth.

So here I am.

My weekend was filled with work. Various projects - like cutting down the holly growing in front of my picture window that had gotten so out of control it was blocking over half the walkway up to my porch. Like Spackling and sanding my kitchen walls in preparation for paint. Like cracking the whip on the kids to get them to do their regular chores. Like sealing the insides of my upper cabinet doors.

Yep. *I* did all those chores. Where was my hubby you ask? He was playing paint ball. And with my blessing.

Despite the work and the resulting aching body, I enjoyed my mother's day.

I did actually spend some time
with my kids playing Rock Band. Yep, I play Rock Band. Drums. I can't sing to save my life, and the guitars are too tricky for me to master. It took me awhile on the drums, but now I can play most anything on Easy, and I've got a few songs mastered on Medium.

I hope those of you who are moms had an enjoyable day, too.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Dodger Blue

I just finished reading "I Live for This! Baseball's Last True Believer" a memoir by L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke with Tommy Lasorda.

A little background - I grew up outside of L.A. proper, in the San Fernando Valley - and I was a huge Dodger fan. I still claim them as my favorite team even though I now live in Texas and don't even follow baseball any longer. Some childhood habits you just don't break.

Anyhow, as Dodger fan during their heyday, this book was a walk down memory lane. I remember many of the major game situations and famous players he talks about. Wow. I wiped several tears as I read through this fascinating and quite revealing portrait of a man. Quite a different picture than the one I held just from watching him on TV managing his team.

For any Dodger fan, especially, but baseball fans in general, this is a great book.

And just FYI for you Dodger fans, the Dodgers have never even made it back to the Worlds Series under any subsequent manager since their memorable win under Lasorda's leadership back in 1988. He even brought our long-shot Olympic baseball team to a gold medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics.

He'll be 81-years-old this year, and Dodger Blue still runs through his veins, but his age is catching up with him. And it will be a sad day in baseball when he moves to Dodger heaven. Baseball and our country will be a worse place for the loss.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Road trip!

The family is off to Houston tomorrow for a Donce de Mayo fiesta. Okay, it's really supposed to be a Cinco de Mayo party, but it's happening tomorrow. My sister- & brother-in-law are throwing this shindig, and it'll be the first time I've been to Houston or their house.

So five of us will be piling into our Toyota Scion - that's one of those small, boxy, toaster-looking cars - and heading south. Fun!

The only stipulation is that has to be stress-free. Everyone will be packed tonight. No excuses.

Tomorrow morning we'll travel west a bit to hook up with my mother- & father-in-law and my other sister-in-law and nephew and then caravan to Houston.

Hope your weekend will be fun ~