Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I met someone new this week in Blog Land. I like her. She's young and smart and interesting and adorable. She apparently has a great family and great friends and a great dog. And bad grammar is like nails on a chalkboard to her (love at first sight here!). And I never would have just happened upon her blog. But as fate would have it in Blog Land, one click led to another and then another and then BINGO or BLOGO, her mother landed on daughter Kelly's blog. This is when it gets funny or amusing or providential? or something worthy of a better adjective than I can come up with at this very minute. I'm tired. Very tired.

Anyway, Kelly posted a picture of her single brother and my son, Michael--who shall remain blogless, on her sidebar several months ago with a little question: Any takers? Believe me, she was not trying to compete with eHarmony or anything. I don't think she even considered the question a serious one--probably just naming the gadget. And then, like I said, BLOGO, somebody's mom found the ad--I mean family photo.

I have always known that people will do things in Blog Land that they would never do in real flesh and blood life. I'm fairly certain that someone new's mother would never have approached a complete stranger on behalf of her single daughter because she thought that said stranger's brother had kind eyes. Got to love Blog Land when you're not hating it.

Someone new's mother shot off an email that she instantly regretted because she is afterall, not creepy or strange or crazy--in the not-so-good way. She's just a mom who loves her daughter and wants that special *someone* out there to find her and love her as well. She's a mom who has tended to a broken heart and continues to pray for its healing--I know this because I've spent way too many hours on someone new's blog. She's just naturally in tune, watching and waiting for God to answer her prayers for that soul mate for her child. I'm sure of it. I am also that mom who longs for that someone to connect with my son with the kind eyes. I want someone to see the Michael I see--to know the Michael I know. And I'm not creepy or strange or crazy--in the not-so-good way.

I have no idea if someone new will even give Michael a second look. I don't know if her mom has even mentioned the kind-eyed guy in the stranger's sidebar. I don't know if she will think he has kind eyes--he does, by the way, and they are very blue. I don't know if Michael will give someone new a second click. I hope he does. It would make a great blog post, wouldn't it? Regardless, I've enjoyed getting to know Laura and her mom. I have prayed for them both. I feel a connection with them--we have things in common. I am resisting the urge to think too much into that.

Age: 28
References upon request. *grin*

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Am I the only one who finds it difficult to just say "thank you" when somebody offers a compliment? For years my husband has told me that I cannot take a compliment. And I suppose he's right. I would argue, though, that I am a realist and that I could take a compliment if it was actually true--which I surely should be a good judge of if was about me, right? Then there's the small problem of being humble.

I guess I don't get excited about your run-of-the-mill compliments that are relative in nature. You are so beautiful would be relative--not that that has ever been used to describe me. But if it was, I would pooh-pooh it. We all know what beautiful looks like, and it's not me. Also, physical beauty is for the most part out of our control. We're either blessed by God with that or not.

You look good for your age is one that has been tossed at me from time to time--well, pretty frequently. Am I supposed to say "thank you" to that one? I don't really have anything to do with looking good for my age; it's another God thing. If I exercised or paid for botox or even did a facial mask every now and then, maybe I could take a little credit, thus feeling the need to say "thank you." Honestly, I think I deserve not only gray hair, but the standing-on-end Einstein look, seeing that I'm a grandmother three times now and have had more than my share of stress. I'm not complaining, mind you, but I don't think I should be complimented and expected to say thank you for something that I obviously don't deserve.

There are a few words that people can use to compliment me that will be instantly responded to with a thank you. And I will mean it. I suppose a bit of pride will well up in me. Yes, I know that's not a good thing. I'll repent later. But the words/compliments--even if unintended as such--do something to me--deep inside. They feel good--and worthy of a thank you.

I suppose you are just dying to know what they are. Well, recently one person said that she liked my new haircut because it looked sassy. Now, sassy is just the kind of word that does that something to me deep inside. I like my hair looking sassy. And after all, I did choose the style, so thank you very much. I did tell her that I had to settle for sassy since I never could pull off sexy--even with the Mac lipgloss from Edie.

Another word that brings the gratitude out in me is clever. I like being clever. No, I love being clever. I just about flip when someone notices that I came up with *the idea* that rocked or the solution that nobody thought of. I have even been known to tell others that I'm clever if they don't notice. And then I thank them for agreeing with me.

And lastly, I love when somebody tells me I'm crazy. Go ahead and call me crazy, I love it. I know it doesn't sound like a compliment, but things are not always as they seem to be. The absolute worst thing someone could say about me is that I was predictable or boring or ordinary. I live to be caught doing the unexpected. Crazy, now that is a compliment I can take.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009


There is nothing quite like the pressure of your out-of-town friends and relatives coming to visit to get things accomplished. The Nester has now replaced my someone-is-coming-to-visit motivation to get those projects done. Technically, participating in a Mr. Linky is like having out-of-town guests visit. Kind of. At least you don't have to cook for them. Unfortunately, my personal home improvement guy--who does the kind of stuff I want/need done for a living--isn't buying into this Mr. Linky pressure. I do fear that he lost his vision for this house about the same time as he bought that dilapidated houseboat, but that is another story.

All day I literally played out this project in my head while counting the minutes down to school's dismissal. Then there was dinner, trip to Hobby Lobby and TJ Maxx, church, quick visit to the sil's, library drop, and American Idol viewing. About 8 p.m. I had no choice but to down a large iced chai tea to suppress the yawns. I don't know what I was thinking consuming all that caffeine for a ten-minute project. Ahem.

Okay, maybe putting on those plate hangers took longer than ten minutes, but the actual hanging was done in the time allotted. My plate wall is my solution to the grandchildren's paw prints on the wall going up the stairs. They can still slide down the bannister, but no hands on my walls!

My other ten-minute project of adding a *happy* to Tessa's bed was actually done by daughter Kelly during a commercial on American Idol. (Since she is the wall words expert around here, no sense stressing myself with the process.)

Monday, February 16, 2009


Way back in August, I purchased this iron something-or-other and posted the before-I-had-a- clue-photo. It sometimes takes me a while to figure out just what I'm going to do with my finds, but that does not prevent me from making the purchase. I just know it has potential when I see it. If you don't believe me, check out my daughter's craft center. That was given to me by someone without vision. Praise the Lord there are people out there like that!

hair center 1

Having everything Tessa and I need at our fingertips on school mornings has been wonderful. My flatiron fits nicely in one of the cup-holder-looking things on the side. I love that it is iron so I don't have to worry about burning anything. No comment. The hairdryers, curling irons, and brushes are in the big basket and an extension cord is wired to the side to prevent me from having to bend over. No comment again. Lights were added for some fun, and Tessa's headbands and necklaces hang from hooks.

hair center

hair center bird

You might wonder why we don't just do this in the bathroom. I'd love to, but old houses come with very tiny bathrooms. It's hard to believe that we are coming up on the fifth anniversary of buying The Boxmoor. Since it needed tons of renovations after being used as a private school for over ten years, I mentally put us on a ten-year plan of completion. We've made a lot of progress, but still have a long way to go. I'd love to show the after pictures of the master bath below, but other than removing the paper towel holder and wallpaper--which just made it worse--we haven't done a thing. It is the next project on our list. Stay tuned. BTW, that tub is miniature. I told you the bathrooms were small.

An after of the bathroom below can be found in this post and this post. I can't seem to find the photo to post here.


We don't do things up big around here. We just don't. Except for Christmas. Maybe. My friend Renee does things up big. Always. Not just Christmas. So, when I presented my family with chocolate covered strawberries on Valentine's Day, they were impressed. There is a method to my madness--it doesn't take much to impress at my house.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


First I was featured here on Kimba's blog and then my little birdie was featured here on the Nester's blog. And then those number in the side bar kept going up and up and up. I had no idea. What a nice surprise. I feel like somebody important or something. And then my blog disappeared from www. because I went .com instead of Then some genius at godaddy fixed it right quick--probably because he already had experience with some crazy lady who lost her blog, shortly followed by her mind. If only I didn't have to work to feed and educate my last child, I could post to my little heart's content today. But it is not to be. I will have to wait until the weekend. Love all my new friends out in blog land and can't wait to get to know you better.
Denise (Me), Michelle aka Vintage Squirrel,
Daughter Kelly aka On a Whim

Sunday, February 08, 2009

BlissDom '09 - My Take

I was really, really nervous when we first arrived at BlissDom '09. I don't really do crowds all that well, and the only other people I *knew* that were going to be there--besides the Nester and her sister, who I don't technically really know--were at the mall looking for Mac lip gloss. That meant that I had to make small talk or be friendly or not look so stupid with just my daughter, Kelly, alone. But right off the bat I said two stupid things. One was in the elevator to two of the guest speakers--no, I didn't know they were guest speakers at the time because I didn't do my homework. They tried to be friendly and asked who we were, to which I answered, "Oh, nobody, we're just the invisible bloggers." To which, now I know, White Trash Mom said, "Don't worry, everyone will relax a bit after a few drinks." Yeah, that made me feel better right off the bat seeing I don't drink anything stronger than sweet tea--which the hotel did not serve.

Then, lucky me found an earring on the floor. I thought it would be a great idea if I made a game out of finding its owner. I would just mingle around and inconspicuously glance at everyone's ears. That ice breaker went over real big. Do you know how much hair bloggers have? Well, let's just say, lots. I approached one friendly-looking lady and asked her if she was missing an earring. She looked at me with a puzzled look and grabbed both br**sts. One of her companions asked her why she did that. She didn't know. I didn't know either, but it was not the response I was hoping for. I turned the earring in at the registration table.

There is something very uncomfortable about people making eye contact with you only to swiftly look away because yours is not a face they recognize from blog world. It makes you wish you were invisible or did drink. Eventually, Edie and Leigh Ann did arrive with shiny lips and powdered noses. Kelly and I felt like the paparazzi or something. We happily carried their bags, thankful for something to do and secretly hoping that the Edie lovers would embrace us as well.

Possibly the third dumb thing I said, I had actually rehearsed. I knew exactly what I was going to say when I saw the Nester. Yessiree, baby, I was not going to blow this opportunity. Honestly, the first glance I got of her made me go weak in the knees. I didn't say anything. I think I went back to my room to use the potty. Then, as providence would have it, when I got off the elevator after pottying, there she was again. So, I mustered up my courage and put out my hand and said, "Hi, I'm one of your birds. You know the one with the black and white stairs." Instant connection. Yep, that's what it was. It was then and there that I knew I had to give her the present I brought her. Only first, I had to finish it.

Unfortunately, the crafting session in the car had not really gone as expected either. I forgot the old folk glasses and the batting and the proper needle and the pliers. And then there was the small issue of carsickness. But it was for the Nester whose motto is "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful." So I took an I-can-do-it attitude and finished that
stinking birdpresent because she deserved it.

The Nester actually read the little card first that reminded her of her famous motto about not having to be perfect.

Then, check out that face. That was not even the staged one that came later because someone's flash did not go off. I think she liked it. Giddy here. There is another really, really great shot of emotion on the Vintage Squirrel's camera, but she hasn't sent it to me yet. Just you wait!

This is when she realized that it was really personalized--meaning I chopped up the map of North Carolina just for her.

We're connected. The ice was broken.
I loved BlissDom '09.
Now I was no longer invisible.
I was the bird person.
I had requests.

I'm opening up shop.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


So, I'm at BlissDom '09 and awoke early this morning with only one thought: To niche or not to niche? I had no idea that so many people were actually making money while twittering or tweeting or engaging in other social media. I had no idea that tracking visitors should be taken so seriously. I kinda knew that there was such a thing as a niche, but didn't know it was so important to blogging success. Then there is the whole definition of what blogging success is.

Well, anyway I think I'm going to niche. I don't think that is a verb, and the proper thing to say is
I I think I'm going to find my niche. I've already rejected two or three random niche ideas that came to me while feeling like a fish out of water here at this convention. But I might be on to something, but I don't want to land just yet. There are still a lot of experts to hear from today.

Just in case I do land, Edie was kind enough to set me up on Twitter @willthisfly so I can tweet or twitter or some such thing. I know I'm not expected to sing because I can't even carry a tune, and I'm smart enough to know that that is not my niche.

That would me with the NESTER, oh, and Leigh Ann and Kelly.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Now, we should get something straight right off the bat. I am a realist. And that is something that I am very proud of. No sense pretending to be something that you are not, right? That said, I know that I or my offspring never have and never will wow anybody with our science ability. This is one instance where I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we do, in fact, look smarter than we are. No use you all shaking your heads at once.

Being a realist works to my advantage during science fair season. See, if I lived in denial, I might actually encourage a child to attempt something beyond family ability which could result in the blowing up of the house or something worse--don't ask me what that something worse might be. This being my fourth child forced/required to do a science fair project leaves me with a certain sense of confidence--no, not in the subject matter, but in the creativity department. If you can't get the judges to notice your project on the merits of content, pull out the big guns or scissors or whatever it takes.

Just as a side note: I really do know what I'm talking about here. One son even made it to the district competition a few years--or decades ago. It really can be won or at least fun if you use a little creativity and have a catchy title.

Tessa's project, called Give Me a Hand, is about hand dominance, and the creative part of it involved surgery--you heard me right, sounds so scientifically impressive! First she got her victims together and then started cutting off--I mean--amputating their arms. In case you're wondering, in the attempt to go green, these dolls were purchased at the GW Boutique where I find all the bargains, remember?

I think she's feeling a bit squeamish in this shot.

The wooden blocks were also bought from GW and added a nice/cheap touch to her sculpture.

Do you think the finished project will get noticed with all those left and right hands? I think we should give her a hand! Applause now, please. Final project photos coming soon--actually, probably, maybe tomorrow since we have another snow day!


There was no school today just in case it snowed *grin*, so that was a happy. Then it really did start to snow, so that was a happy. Then Tessa just about finished her science fair project, so that was a happy. So many happys, what's one to do with all that glee?

There was no hesitation when I asked Tessa if she wanted to take a break from working on her science fair project to enjoy the snow!
This here is called body skiing. It's what you do when you are short on money, snow, and hills. You can't say these kids can't make their own fun!