Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Momentous Occasion

Today is a momentous occasion in our family. It is something the kids (teenage twins) have been saving for and looking forward to for over a year. Recently, they've actually been counting down the days.

They are getting cell phones.

No, they're not getting their first cell phones. They've had cell phones for over a year. Eighteen months, to be exact.

When they got their first cell phones, they were overjoyed. My daughter actually sent/received over 1100 text messages in the first THREE DAYS. They had CELL PHONES! They were truly teenagers! They were IN!

It didn't take long, however, for them to notice that some of their friends had better phones than them, with more features. We had all four gotten the free phone du jour.

Now, I have been perfectly happy with the most basic of cell phones in all my 10+ years of having them, and my husband is perfectly happy as long as he can make and receive calls, so we don't really understand this dissatisfaction. (Yes, I text, but do quite well on my number pad and think a full keyboard would just confuse me since it would be too small to actually type.)

Therefore, my philosophy with contract renewal/new equipment is that the free phone is good enough, and any upgrade will come out of their own pockets. So they have been saving and researching phones for at least six months.

So today we will go sign our lives away for another two years and my husband and I will take whatever phone they will give us. Our kids will take their money and buy better phones than ours. And I will be perfectly happy with my free phone.

Until I get to play with theirs a little bit. I already sort of want an iPhone. I blame my kids (and my co-workers).

Saturday, May 22, 2010


My niece is graduating from college today (my husband's niece, technically, but I'll claim her). She will have a BS in Biology and she's going on to pharmacy school.

I remember when she was born. Hubby and I were just starting to get interested in each other, and I remember him coming to the library at college (I worked there) and telling me that he had just heard that his brother's wife had given birth to a girl.

Makes me feel nostalgic.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Worked until 2:45
Took Son to apply for a job
Took Son for haircut
Came home, ate "dinner"
Sprayed oven with cleaner
Defrosted frost-free refrigerator with blow-dryer
Sent Son off to cut my parents' lawn
Sent Daughter off to birthday party
Went to Wal-Mart
Watched NCIS while doing my nails
Cleaned oven--wondered why I did my nails
Replaced lower element in oven
Checked e-mail and wrote this senseless blog

This is why I don't find much time to write or blog.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Thoughts On "Padding"

Last night we watched "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" as a family. The one from 1979.

It's SO boring!

The movie could have easily been an hour-long television episode, complete with commercial breaks. The makers spent an unbelievable amount of time on special effects. I mean unbelievable. If you've seen it, you know what I mean. It made me say, "What on earth were they thinking???"

The plot (when you could find it among the special effects) was thin and had no tension, as if even the cast knew they were in a boring movie.

It got me to thinking about my "completed" manuscript that is suffering from neglect, needing revision/editing. I think one of the reasons I'm reluctant to dust it off and work on it is that I'm not sure if I really have enough story for a whole novel. It's too short. I've got some ideas for added scenes, but I don't want to add padding.

It seemed to me as if the Star Trek movie creators took an hour-long television episode and padded it out with special effects to make it movie-length. (According to the Wikipedia entry, that's more or less what they did.) The padding was very boring, and it made the whole movie seem boring.

I don't want to do that with my novel.

I hope I can think of something. If not, I may seriously need to shelve it and focus on one of the other four ideas competing for my attention.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The NEW U.S. Passport!

My daughter got her passport in the mail this week. It’s pretty!

Mine from 22 years ago was just a little book with my picture and info on one page and blank pages for visas. The new ones look exactly the same on the outside down to the Navy blue, but the inside it’s completely different. I don’t have my old one to compare to because it’s off with the State Department proving I’m a U.S. citizen, but I know my old one didn’t have scenic pictures of the United States on the visa pages, or a colorful bald eagle on the page with my picture.

They say the passports now have some kind of chip in them for scanning recognition. And my friend Carrie thinks the pictures on the visa pages are printed like our money somehow so they can’t be counterfeited. But I just think they’re pretty.

And now I have the song going through my head from Captain Kangaroo, “Picture pages, picture pages, time to get your pictures pages, time to get your crayons or your pencils…”

Saturday, February 27, 2010

One Certified Copy, Please!

I finally applied for my passport yesterday. If you read my entry from two weeks ago you might remember that I couldn’t apply with my daughter because I needed either my birth certificate or my marriage license, and that I had decided to get my birth certificate because it would be easier.


I downloaded the form from the appropriate state to request a certified copy of my birth certificate, filled it out, and sent it off with the required $15 check. That was two weeks ago. I haven’t heard a thing.

On a whim, I decided to also try to get a copy of my marriage license. I called the appropriate county clerk’s office to see if they could send me a form to request a certified copy of my marriage license since there wasn’t one to download online.

Clerk: What’s your husband’s name and your maiden name? And the date?

Me: (gives her the info)

Clerk: Oh yes, I see it here. How many copies do you need?

Me: Just one, I guess. How much are they?

Clerk: $1.10 each.

Me: Oh! Well, then send me two or three. Who knows when I might need them?

Clerk: How about if I send you four and bill you for two? We’ve already gotten today’s mail, but they’ll go out tomorrow.

Me: You don’t have to do that. I’ll pay for four.

Clerk: No, I’m only billing you for two.

Me: Do you need my credit card information?

Clerk: No, I’ll just bill you and you can send me a check.

Me: ….? Thank you!

I got them within the week (this was a distant state). Four copies.

I felt guilty sending them a check for only $2.20—I felt as if I owed $4.40. But as an accountant, I was afraid it would mess up their books and possibly get the clerk in trouble. And really, it’s probably a fair price for her time, four sheets of paper, and the stamp.

I was surprised that the clerk was so trusting that I’d pay. I know it isn’t very much money, not a huge loss if I didn’t pay, but that tiny bit of trust made me feel encouraged about the state of the human race.

I feel as if I need to “pay it forward.” I don’t mean that I now owe society $2.20, but that maybe I owe the people around me more friendliness, more helpfulness, and more smiles. I could hear the smile in her voice, and I’m betting those of you reading her words could sense her smile between the lines.

And if I have the opportunity to encourage someone in a small way with a small amount of money…

Friday, February 19, 2010

Shots and Books

I got my Hep A&B combo shot and my tetanus shot on Wednesday. My Hep arm is fine, but my tetanus arm is very sore and I've been achy and grumpy. I'm sure it will go away soon, though. Better that than actually getting tetanus.

I randomly ordered three books from Amazon. I'm not sure why--it's very unlike me to make any purchase on a whim. An agent on a blog I follow said two of her clients were on the New York Times best seller list and I thought, "I need to read more," so I clicked over and bought them. I don't even know what they're about, but obviously someone likes them. Then I was only $5 away from free shipping, so I bought the latest Vladimir Tod book for $10 to save $5 shipping. Therefore the Vladimir Tod book was only $5, really. Right?

Anyway, this is what I ordered:

"Eleventh Grade Burns (the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod)" by Heather Brewer
"Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" by Jamie Ford
"Heist Socity" by Ally Carter

Anyone read them?

I also read "Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson. I borrowed it from the library. Powerful book. It's written in the first person, present tense, which really works for the subject matter and makes it more intense. The subject matter is actually kept from the reader for quite a while. I figured it out early on, but I don't think a "young adult" reader would catch on until they were supposed to. Anyway, both good and disturbing, and probably good for teen girls to read. Good message.

My son is wondering what on earth we will do when we run out of Star Trek DVD's?? We only have the first season of Next Generation.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Applying for Passports

Yesterday we went to apply for our passports. An adult has to have proof of citizenship and proof of identity. A minor has to have proof of citizenship and some kind of certified proof of parental permission from BOTH parents.

Oddly, my daughter’s application was the easier of the two. We had her birth certificate for her proof of citizenship. For proof of parental permission my husband and I both let them take copies of our driver’s licenses (to prove we were really her parents—our names are the same on our ID as on her birth certificate) and signed the form in front of the clerk. Done. The form and the birth certificate and our driver’s license copies get sent off someplace and she’ll get a passport in 6-8 weeks.

If one parent isn’t present you have to have some kind of certified something in writing from them. It sounded easier for my husband to just take off work early and go with us. I’m sure they have that in case one parent lives in another state. I’m betting if one parent is dead you have to have a death certificate.

It was a no-go on me, however. I had my old passport (from 1988) for proof of citizenship and my license as proof of identity. The clerk said the names were different. Yes, I got married in 1989. Did I have my marriage license? No, not with me. They won’t give you a new passport without proof of name change. Did I have my birth certificate? No, I have no idea where it is, but my name on my birth certificate is the same as on my old passport. Well, that doesn’t matter. What??

What it boils down is that if I use my old passport as proof of citizenship I have to have proof of name change. If I use my birth certificate, I don’t. Weird.

So I have to come up with either a copy of my marriage license or a copy of my birth certificate. I’ve since realized that the copy I have of my marriage license is probably not a certified copy—it’s probably just a pretty copy for my picture book.

I poked around online and found out that it’s much easier to apply for a copy of my birth certificate from the state of Missouri than it is to apply for a copy of my marriage license from the state of Indiana. So I think I’ll go the birth certificate route. I’m tempted to try to get a copy of my marriage license, too, just in case I ever need it.

I guess I’m glad it’s so difficult to get a passport in the United States, for homeland security reasons or whatever. And at this point I have plenty of time.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


My daughter and I leave on June 8th, so we have just under four months to prepare. Not enough time, as it turns out, to get the full Hepatitis A and B immunization series. At least my daughter has had them. I think. I have a call in to her doctor. As for me... well, I have time to get two, so hopefully that will be enough.

We also have to make sure our tetanus shots are current. I'm not sure about mine... maybe 1999? I'm trying to find out when I last had one, and it’s turning out to be an adventure of following my medical records around town. (Well, don’t envision any exciting car chases—so far I’ve just been using my phone.) I have a feeling I'll be getting a tetanus shot before we go.

We're also supposed to be getting immunized against typhoid. I'm pretty sure my daughter hasn't had that one. What on earth is typhoid, anyway?

Wikipedia's definition lost me after the first sentence. “The bacteria then perforate through the intestinal wall and are phagocytosed by macrophages.” I think I’ll endure the shot instead of risking perforating and phagocytosing.

I'm wondering if we should get flu shots, too. We've both had the Swine Flu, but I guess there are other types of flu floating around the world. But I wonder if the shots available now will prepare us for flu in June, or flu in the Dominican Republic?

Anyway, it looks like I’m going to feel more like a pincushion over the next four months than I did when I was pregnant. Of course, at the end of the pregnancy you have a wonderful baby (or babies, in my case) so you forget all about the ugly needles. Except I just remembered them.

I hate shots. But it’s for a good cause.

We also have to take malaria medicine while we’re there. I would like to go on the record as saying that I will combat malaria with “OFF” and mosquito netting as well as medicine! And calamine lotion, if necessary. (Well, that won’t help with malaria, only itching…)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Going Abroad

My 14-year-old daughter and I are going on a mission trip this summer to the Dominican Republic. After praying about it, talking about it, and thinking about it for two weeks, we made the decision and commitment this past Sunday.

I'm excited and anxious.

Excited because my daughter wants to stretch herself and try something way outside her comfort zone. My amazement of this hasn't worn off yet.

Excited because I'm starting to discover the fun in being open to God's leading and letting Him surprise me. Three weeks ago, if someone had told me we'd be going on this trip, I wouldn't have believed it.

Anxious because it's a third-world country with all its diseases and poverty. Should I feel guilty for exposing my child to such things, or should I feel guilty for being concerned about it? There are arguments for both.

At the moment, I mostly feel relief that we're no longer agonizing over the decision and that we can move forward with preparations.

And I'm certain it will turn out good.
Romans 8:28