Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Have Been Blessed

Since my birthday and Thanksgiving are within two weeks of each other, I have spent much of my "drive time" thinking about this year, what I want out of the next, and what I have to be thankful for. And because so many expressed concerns about the last post, I figured it was high time to bust out more of my insane self and give you a few thoughts on the ten things I am thankful for. It would be easy to give answers like family, kids, friends, and yeah I am thankful for those things, very thankful; but there are the other things in my life that need to feel the love too.

1. Smiles. They are my form of hugs. Being the infinitely affectionate person I am, hugs are a little...oh shall we say...uncomfortable. A smile, and a half wave all are I need to make my day. It shows you care, really.

2. Musicals. I freakin' love um! I mean really, how can you not bop your head and tap your toe when Donny Osmond is singing "Any Dream Will Do." Or feel like Broadway should be calling you any minute because of how good you can belt out "On My Own" in the shower. Even my brother enjoys "Memory " from Cats.

3. Flip Flops. Some of you may know that I HATE socks. HATE them. My feet feel so trapped and when I wear them, all I can think about is how my feet can't breathe when they are covered in socks and shoes. (I know some of you are thinking 'why am I friends with her' about now, but stick with me) Nathan makes me wear socks at least once a week because he says he doesn't enjoy the daily exfoliating treatments he gets in bed from my dry heels. But those other six days I can't wait to get in the closet and get the flips.

4. Words. Although I am an atrocious speller, I can generally find words, even if the situation escapes them. Situations like when you are walking into a store in quite a hurry and you cut the corner a little short and knock over a display. Walmart people don't want to hear "Holy crap, I totally didn't see that," they just want you to clean up the Mac and Cheese on aisle 8.

5. Sense of Humor. It is almost as if the angels said, "there will be many storms in your life, here's the galoshes to play in the puddles.

6. Facebook. Not only is it a place to find people that I haven't seen in 15 years, it's yet another place for me to be humiliated. Like when I thought that I knew someone and was shocked to find them, carried on several conversations via 'the wall' with them, and then realized I had no clue who they are. The person I knew had a different last name.

7. Sunsets. The Arizona sunsets have nearly cost me license. Every night when the hues of purple, blue, orange, red, and yellow peak just above the mountain tops, I forget that I am driving a two ton vehicle and nearly crash into oncoming traffic. My sense of humor makes me laugh, the sunsets make me grateful.

8. My husband. I know I said I would move beyond family, but really the guy deserves some sort of badge of honor for ten years with me. Don't get me wrong, medals are deserved all the way around, but I have pretty much said every stupid thing there is to say both in private and in public, I have freaked out on him more times than I care to remember, and dragged him more places than he cares to remember. He is the yin to my yang, the calm to my crazy.

9. People Watching. It is my form of therapy. When I think I am losing my mind, I go to the mall and watch people to feel better about myself. Like when a lady screams at a sales associate in the store because something hasn't gone according to her expectations. I so would never do that. I would leave the store and talk about behind her back. That is what rational, non- crazy people do.

10. My own skin. I haven't always been ok with being me and felt that I needed to be a chameleon of sorts to please people, or to feel a part of things. I think I may be growing out of my 12 year old, middle school self, and be ok being me. Even if that includes flinging around a hanger while chatting with friends and forgetting that the hanger has a flaming marshmallow stuck to it. I have come to realize I am a little more animated than I thought.

So there it is, ten things to be grateful for. And ten things to work on for next year. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


There is no greater suffering than that of trying to answer the question of why. It is "mortality's supreme test" and often leaves us disparaging, confused, and raging. This is never more true than in the inevitable face of death. Why one day a vibrant mother of three can be having dinner with friends who have known each other forty years, and have seen each other through the deep waters of lives well lived, is found the next day on the side of road, in the teetering space between life and eternity. There is no fairness, no equality, no logic. But in the hollowness of why, lies the harrowing of hope. Hope that we too can can live a life full of love, service, kindness, laughter, and passion. Hope that we can continue to weave into future generations that which has been fortified by the generations before. Hope that beyond the despair of aching loneliness, awaits the peace of placant memories. Hope that one day you shall stand before your maker and find your family encircled about you, reminding you of a life fully lived.

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea.
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home!
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For though from out our bourn of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.
--Alfred Tennyson

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's the most wonderful time of the year. There'll be pumpkins for craving, and candy for snarfing, and costumes galore...It's the most wonderful time of the year! We love Halloween. More so the season of fall in general, but really Halloween is the most fun, least stressful holiday. I mean really, when else can you steal candy from your kids without them noticing or throwing a full fledged fit? Even the dogs got in on the action this year.

The best part of Halloween is always the pumpkin patch. This year they had one at the community center right next to one of the ponds. A place situated such that you drive by and think, "oh my gosh, it's so pretty, look at how cute it is, let's go." Only, you arrive and realize that kids plus pumpkins, plus water, might not be the combination you were looking for. Needless to say, there were a lot of hairy eyeball glances shot in the direction of our youngest. I had no doubt that instead of throwing a penny into the pond to make a wish, she would be throwing in all of the pumpkins she could heave. Thank goodness for the lemonade stand. It might be sticky, but it doesn't cause a scene! The pumpkins still were heaved. She just waited until she got home to drop it on the tile. Lovely mess!!

After the patch, the pumpkins must be carved of course. Although, when you live in a place that is still 100 degrees, you have to wait until the day before Halloween to carve them so they don't rot. This year, that day turned out to be the day Nathan had several meetings, and I was going to have to carve alone. This is when the ol' independent gene that has been passed on to my children actually came in handy. Logan wanted to do his all by himself. He drew the pirate all by himself, and scooped out all of the junk in the pumpkin. He then thought that he would be carving by himself as well, but I quickly informed him that would not be the case. After several minutes of "discussing" that the knife was not a "safety knife," I finally convinced "the Kroeger Home Sheriff" that the knife was indeed not safe.

Caitlyn wanted my help to create the perfect princess pumpkin. Apparently she didn't get the memo that I can't draw a straight line to show a stick. That perfect princess pumpkin looked more like the corpse bride with 3 teeth in Betelgeuse, but she was happy. After two hours of carving, poor Reagan got nothing. Sure she got to scoop a few guts from the other two, but the thought of carving another pumpkin, made me want to drop it on the tile and break it just to not have to carve it.

Because Halloween fell on a Friday this year, the kids were all geared up to hunt candy well into the dark sky. But with foreclosures up, and the economy down, candy hunting was a little tougher then they imagined. Two hours in, their baskets still weren't full, and Indiana Jones and his faithful cat sidekick had enough. The flower? No, she was ready to keep burning the midnight oil. She wouldn't let anyone hold her basket, and she went up to every single house the big kids did. The only house she wouldn't go up to was the one giving away full size candy bars. That's right, Snickers, Milky Way, Skittles, Reece's Peanut Butter Cups, and Baby Ruth's. Full Size! I am convinced she knew I was stalking it, and wouldn't take it purely out of spite. I suppose I could have gone up and swiped one in the name of an 18 month old, but the lady didn't look like she would buy it. But two hours of walking, wrestling costumes, and pumpkin carving, I so deserved that freaking Baby Ruth. So I just took all 3 of Reagan's little Baby Ruth's and made myself a big one.

So the candy has been checked, fought over, horded under beds, and is now all eaten. The costumes are packed away with the pumpkin buckets and gobblin flashlights, and we are gearing up for the most gluttonous holiday, Thanksgiving. Then the most expensive, Christmas. Even so, I just love this time of year!!

My Fair Lady

OK, ok I hear you! I know it has been a while since the last blog. But it would appear that my little muse has packed up his things and been on vacation, or left me for another brain, because I got nothin'. Not just uninspired, or lacking in things to share. Nope, just flat out brain dead. Can't put a coherent thought together to save my life. So life just keeps on happening, and I think, "huh, I should blog about that" but do I? No. Plus my camera died and I couldn't find the charger, and unless I can have the pictures, the funny lines, and the music all just so, I really don't want to try and blog. So you can all thank the PSP charger for pulling me from the slump.

It's been an exciting month around this joint! We started the month by attending the Arizona State Fair. This was momentous because I was going through withdraw of the annual deep fried snickers since we did not attend the San Diego Fair this year. So with that deep fried snickers lightly powdered with confectioners sugar on the brain, and a rumor of monkey jockeys that ride the backs of dogs in a race, we were off to the fair. Imagine my dismay when we exited the freeway to find that fair I was so excited to attend, was smack dab in the center of ghettoville. I mean windows missing in abandoned buildings with crack heads talking to themselves on the corner ghettoville. It might be enough to detour a family with more common sense, but us, no. We just put all three kids in the stroller and walked like we had kids that were going to pee their pants.

Once inside the gates, all of the sights, sounds, and smells of the fair made us forget what was just outside. It was almost like going into Willy Wonka's Factory, except of course that it was 105 that day. So the smells of the elephant rides and the bear show I probably could have done without. We started the day watching a women with a wicked lisp squirt honey into a bear's mouth while the bear rode a scooter, and ended the day chatting with the gang enforcement task team. Ahh, fair memories, and here are a few things we learned in between.

1. Don't buy the first hot dog you see at the fair, you end up with hot dog remorse when you see the same hot dog a dollar cheaper four carts down.

2. Don't let your kids take their allowance money to the fair. They come home with the kid equivalent of the orange shammies you find in the tents. In our case magnets and princess tierra's.

3. Do be very nice to the carnies, show a little leg if you must, they let you on the rides for free when you run out of tickets.

4. Do keep an eye on all of your children, 'cause they can run really fast and those bright lights on the rides are like a moth to the flame for them.

5. Do let your little ones ride the carousel as many times as they want, it won't be long before they are too cool for it.

6. Do bring your own water bottles, because when a kid spills 3/4 of the $4.50 water bottle, it may tend to freak you out in ways you didn't think possible.

7. Don't buy pens from the man who says he is deaf and is selling pens to earn money. Chances are, his hearing aids just don't have batteries.

8. Do go and see the banana derby any time you can. Watching a spider monkeys race in circles on the backs of St. Bernards will make you laugh no matter what kind of day you are having.

9. Do remember that you are an adult and do not have the same body you did when you were fifteen. This is especially important on the tilt a whirl and the tornado, rides that are like the Disneyland teacups on crack.

10. Do go to the fair every year. Not only is it the most fun and fattening day of your life, but the joy your kids find in it is so worth the $140 buck you spent to see it.