Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Grace in Small Things #17 - The Winter Doldrums Edition

1. Sunshine! Well, almost sunshine.

2. Mike & Ike Lemonade Blends.

3. A Bed Buddy

4. Yak Trax

Patak's Tikka Masala sauce
6. There are only 52 days until spring.

(Please forgive my unruly images - they refuse to behave. Or please forgive me because I refuse to keep trying to force them to stay where I want them.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Illinois, Illinois

Illinois State Song

By thy rivers gently flowing, Illinois, Illinois,
O'er thy prairies verdant growing, Illinois, Illinois,
Comes an echo on the breeze,
Rustling through the leafy trees,
and its mellow tones are these, Illinois, Illinois,
And its mellow tones are these, Illinois.

From a wilderness of prairies, Illinois, Illinois,
Straight thy way and never varies, Illinois, Illinois,
Till upon the inland sea,
Stands thy great commerical tree,
turning all the world to thee, Illinois, Illinois,
Turning all the world to thee, Illinois.

When you heard your country calling, Illinois, Illinois,
Where the shot and shell were falling, Illinois, Illinois,
When the Southern host withdrew,
Pitting Gray against the Blue,
There were none more brave than you, Illinois, Illinois,
There were none more brave than you, Illinois.

Not without thy wondrous story, Illinois, Illinois,
Can be writ the nation's glory, Illinois, Illinois,
On the record of thy years,
Abraham Lincoln's name appears,
Grant and Logan, and our tears, Illinois, Illinois,
Grant and Logan, and our tears, Illinois.

written by C.H. Chamberlain, composed by Archibald Johnston
Yesterday, the local news was all about the mandatory furlough (unpaid time off) days imposed by my employer, the state’s largest public university.

Today, the news was all about the seven-year contract and multi-multi-multi-million dollar salary awarded to a professional baseball player.

The mental lava is still spewing from the volcanic explosion in my head so I am unable to verbalize my feelings about the juxtaposition of these two events…but I think you get it.

This morning, Mary Alice and I were discussing the distressing news that the health department in a neighboring county may be forced to close because the state has not paid the health department the funds due it this fiscal year. The state did, however, offer to LOAN the health department some money at 5% interest. (Flow, mental lava, flow.)

Mary Alice suggested that the Mafia may be running our state. I said, no, the Mafia would do a much better job of it.

The whole country is in fiscal crisis, true...but I'm told that Illinois ranks above only California in our level of dire-straightedness. Ain't we special.

"...and our tears, Illinois, Illinois."

100...or Violet really does love a list, doesn't she?

Happy New Year! This is my 100th post. I've been avoiding writing about other things that are bouncing around in my head because I wanted to do the traditional '100 things' but I've been lazy since I got home from my sister's. I better get this published so I can get on with it, like telling you how amazing my nieces are, or about the Christmas gift from Mary Alice that is the happy end of a quest.

  1. My first real job was as a phlebotomist at a hospital. I loved it and I was very good.
  2. June bugs freak me out.
  3. I detest washing the dishes.
  4. My favorite color is green.
  5. I was a Brownie but not a Girl Scout.
  6. I was in 4-H.
  7. I don’t eat chocolate candy in the wintertime – it doesn’t melt right.
  8. I love to recycle. I mean, I LOVE to recycle. It’s weird.
  9. But I can’t be bothered to recycle plastic grocery bags. It irritates me to have to save them and take them back to the store. I really should get a bunch of those re-usable bags.
  10. I have a very strong sense of direction and never get lost.
  11. I love to dance and sing.
  12. Music affects me in a visceral way.
  13. I cry easily. It’s my way of releasing emotions, both positive and negative.
  14. Wild violets are my favorite flowers. They are pretty and delicate but also extremely hardy and hard to vanquish. Like me.
  15. I am the oldest of three girls.
  16. When we were kids, I had my sisters almost convinced that I was a Celestial Being, not a human.
  17. More recently, I had my nieces almost convinced that I am the real Kim Possible.
  18. I always wanted an older brother.
  19. I had an uncle with Downs Syndrome.
  20. I am very much like my dad’s only sister.
  21. I’m not sure I could force myself to bungee jump for a million dollars.
  22. I could eat something disgusting, though.
  23. I have 4 surgical scars.
  24. Words are good. Numbers are evil.
  25. As my hair gets more grey, it is becoming wavy. It’s freaking me out.
  26. Red is not my natural hair color.
  27. My real name is not Violet.
  28. My eyes really are blue.
  29. I have one tattoo.
  30. My laugh is loud and frequent.
  31. I am an excellent swimmer.
  32. I love shoes.
  33. I hate wearing them.
  34. I hate it when people scuff their heels as they walk.
  35. I detest being cold.
  36. But I love being outside when it’s snowing.
  37. I am rarely bored.
  38. I love to act and perform on stage…but I haven’t been in a show since 1993.
  39. I occasionally enjoy erotica and porn.
  40. I adore Barbie – especially the really fancy, really expensive ones.
  41. To date I have received 2 speeding tickets. The last one was in 1990.
  42. My parents have been happily, contentedly married for 47 years.
  43. I was not-so-happily, not-so-contentedly married for 11 years.
  44. I think of myself as ‘single’ not ‘divorced.’ I don’t define myself by the death of that marriage.
  45. All I have ever really wanted, deep down, is to be a wife and mother.
  46. At the moment, I am single and childless.
  47. I am convinced there is a reason for that strong desire. God just hasn’t showed it to me yet.
  48. I know I will marry again. I am as sure of that as I am that the sun rises in the east. And I know it will last.
  49. I am planning my last wedding in my head.
  50. My sisters would not be surprised to hear that.
  51. Lilac is my favorite scent.
  52. Lemon is my favorite flavor.
  53. I could eat chicken almost every day of the year.
  54. Cake is my favorite food.
  55. I think my facial features are prettier individually than the whole.
  56. I don't wear turtlenecks.
  57. I love rings and wish I had a whole wardrobe of them.
  58. Summer is my favorite season.
  59. I often get hooked on one particular food and choose to eat it over and over again for weeks. And then I’m done.
  60. I am a quilter, a cross stitcher, and I make jewelry.
  61. I have been working on a quilt for my sister for over 6 years. It was supposed to be a housewarming gift. They moved into the house 5 years ago.
  62. I am allergic to cats.
  63. I am a born-again Christian but I don’t like that label. Too many connotations go with it that don’t fit me.
  64. I have worn glasses and/or contacts since second grade.
  65. I am planning to get Lasik surgery in 18 months – as soon as I pay off my car loan.
  66. Wool anything is always too scratchy, even with something underneath it.
  67. Except my boiled wool slippers. I love, love, love them.
  68. I can’t go to sleep without washing my face and brushing my teeth.
  69. I procrastinate.
  70. I let go of the need to have a perfectly clean home when my mother visits.
  71. I read a chapter from the Bible almost every night.
  72. I love water. I love to be in it, near it, hearing it, looking at it…even drinking it.
  73. I don’t necessarily want to live to be 80 or 90. I believe that our bodies were not designed to last that long.
  74. I am unsatisfied with my current life.
  75. I love my car – a 2005 ardor blue (aka navy) Hyundai Sonata.
  76. I miss having a dog but won’t get another one until I’m married again.
  77. If I got rid of all the clothes I never wear, my wardrobe wouldn’t even fill one dresser.
  78. I adore the Hamster Dance.
  79. I am easily amused. Obviously.
  80. The second toe on my right foot is shorter than the others. It’s not freakishly short but people often notice.
  81. I always, always wear polish on my toenails.
  82. I rarely wear polish on my fingernails.
  83. I love the way lipstick looks but can’t stand the way it feels, so I don’t wear it.
  84. I only wear silver or white gold jewelry.
  85. A woman at a gas station in Kentucky said I had the whitest teeth she had ever seen. I’ve always wondered if she really said “widest” because I don’t think my teeth are all that white.
  86. I may be related to Donny & Marie.
  87. I want to quit working to go back to college to complete a bachelor’s degree and then work as an event planner for a corporation or association.
  88. I love roller coasters.
  89. Amethyst is my birthstone.
  90. I have never been able to decide if I am a Spring or a Summer.
  91. I love to read.
  92. My sisters call me the Queen of the Small Fact.
  93. I learn a lot of those 'small facts' from the lightweight fiction I read.
  94. Pepsi is my very favorite beverage.
  95. Whiskey is my preferred liquor.
  96. I don’t like beer and I can’t drink wine – I have a sort of allergic reaction to it.
  97. I am very curious.
  98. I like to be spontaneous.
  99. But I also like to know what “the plan” is. This amuses Mary Alice.
  100. I whine and complain a lot about the things I don't have but I do realize how fortunate and loved I am. I just need to be reminded now and then.