I need a consensus here.

Okay–so I need to know how much you spend on groceries in a month.

Two years ago, after I’d been back to school for one year, it was through a blanket poll of the gals I worked with that I was able to prove to Tony that a housekeeper was necessary. Our house is still a mess, but thanks to Alma, we are not in fear of contracting diseases from using our own toilets or walking across the kitchen floor. My wonderful husband has EVERY intention of helping me. . .and I have every intention of cleaning. . .but all we manage to keep even half-way done is dishes, laundry, and cooking. We have $50 per month set aside for eating out–for all four of us–so that means we cook A LOT.

We have a strict monthly budget. We have a certain amount set aside for food and a separate amount set aside for hygiene, etc. I was recently able to talk Tony into upping the grocery money by $25, but we are still going over budget each month–probably due to four of us requiring sustanance–and two of us growing vertically rather than horizontally.

Anyway–how much do you spend each month on food? If you don’t have a budget–a ball park figure is great. We have four people–two adults and two growing children.

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New Wireless Amber Alert System

I just left Melanie’s where she had a post telling how you can be registered for a new Amber Alert system. Just enter your cell phone number and up to five zipcodes in which you regularly travel. If there is an Amber Alert put out in those areas, you will be notified by text message. Within seconds of registering, I had a text message on my phone telling me I was in the system. I find this amazing and very, very smart since there aren’t enough police officers on the planet to be all the places we mommies are on a daily basis. Take a minute to do this. It’s like giving blood or signing up to be an organ donor–and it’s specifically to save the lives of children.

Go here to register for Amber Alerts on your cell phone.

Little Miss Rumphius

missrumphiusbookcover.jpg

There is a wonderful children’s book called Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. This particular book is about a young girl named Alice Rumphius who wants to do some very specific things. But the final and most important thing is that she needs to do something to make the world more beautiful. I have a children’s book for pretty much every occasion–and Sarah would also tell you that I have a humorous though possibly useless anecdote for every occasion as well.

I give you both.
——————————————————————————————-
Yesterday was Victoria’s first Jr. Girl Scout meeting. She did Daisies. . .AND Brownies. . .and now she’s a Jr. So, they made one of those little hand held fortune teller things where you stick your fingers in it and go back and forth, back and forth choosing messages until you finally get to open the flap and read your “fortune.” In this case, it was the Girl Scout Law and the “fortunes” were questions about how well you’ve upheld it.

I was never IN Girl Scouts, so I am ignorant of the Girl Scout Law, however when Victoria tested me on the way to school this a.m., I ended up with the following question:

“What have you done to make the world more beautiful?”

Victoria asked this very earnestly, and it took me about a millisecond to give her the answer.

“Honey, I had YOU!”

She looked at me gently, tenderly as though she wanted me to know and understand how very much she loved me despite my stupidity then said, “Uuuuuuuuuummmmm, no. I mean like planting flowers or something.”

To which I replied rather excitedly and expectantly, assured that I had hit upon the correct answer at last, “Well, I’ve planted knowledge in my student’s heads for the past 16 years!”

THIS time the look was more a mixture of sadness, exasperation, and I-guess-I-didn’t-word-the-question-so-you-could-understand on her precious, (9 days late, 9 lb., 15 hours of labor, 22″ inches long, and one week in the neonatal ICU fearing for her life) angelic face.

I literally threw my hands up in the air while she stated v e r y s l o w l y so that I could understand, “It has to be something REEEEEEEEAL, Mommy.”

Well, I can’t say that when I was 9 years old I thought my mother had done anything real either. She was my Momma. She took care of us, and she took care of Daddy and my grandparents and anyone else who happened to need taking care of. She liked to drink Dr. Pepper from styrofoam coffee cups (NEVER coffee), and expected someone to meet her at the car to help carry in the groceries. If Daddy was out somewhere so that you got to actually watch what you liked on tv, chances were high that she would dump a basket of laundry in front of you. That was it.

She was a teacher too–and it never occurred to me the thousands of students and parents or the hundreds of peers and administrators and school board members whose lives she had influenced and would continue to influence over her 37 years in education. All I knew was that she had the reputation of being a VERY strict teacher, and I knew it was true, because she was the same type of mother. Why should she be a different type of teacher? It worked. ‘Nuff said. It also never occurred to me, at the age of 9, that her influence would carry on in me and now in her grandaughter.

Luckily for Victoria’s opinion of me, I have 8 packages of wildflower seeds already purchased and waiting until we can go and plant them along the roadside edge of the property where we plan to build our new home. They are a “Texas” mix along with some other things that grow well in the wild, and they need to be sewn in the fall. Her Daddy and I have had this planned –at my suggestion–for awhile now. Maybe after our little wildflower seeds are tucked away for their long winter’s nap I, like Miss Rumphius, will have done something to make the world more beautiful–something that is as real and tangible to my daughter as the possibility of futures and students yet unknown are in my mind–something as touchable to my sweet, sweet girl as the ethereal realness of her life is to me.

miss-rumphius-end-2.jpg<

My Great-aunt Alice, Miss Rumphius, is very old now. Her hair is very
white. Every year there are more and more lupines. Now they call her the
Lupine Lady. Sometimes my friends stand with me outside the gate, curious to
see the old, old lady who planted the fields of lupines. When she invites us in,
they come slowly. They think she is the oldest woman in the world. Often she
tells us stories of faraway places.
“When I grow up,”I tell her, “I too will go to faraway places and come
home to live by the sea.”
“That is all very well, little Alice,” says my aunt, “but there is a third thing
you must do.”
“What is that?” I ask.
“You must do something to make the world more beautiful.”
“All right, ” I say.
“But I do not yet know what that could be.”

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A bunch of stuff about which to be glad.

Tony called at 6:15.

The car had broken down on the way to soccer practice.

The mechanic closes at 6:00.

Enterprise car rental closes at 6:00.

HOWEVER. . .

We have wonderful neighbors who watched The Boy while I went to retrieve The Girl and Her Daddy since only three of us can fit into The Truck.

Tony’s brother has a car that is currently sitting idle since he drives a company vehicle.

We can use his car for free.

There was a HUGE thunderstorm earlier.

When they broke down the sun was shining.

Had the sun not been shining and had the sky been storming, they would not have gone to soccer practice.

We would not have used the car again until tomorrow to get to school.

The car did NOT break down on the way to school in the morning at 7:00.

Nor did it break down when I made a mad dash home today at lunch and made it back to school with just minutes to spare before my 6th period class showed up.

The car is 7 years old.

It is paid for.

We have had NO major trouble with it, so it’s due to pitch a fit.

AND

Tonight is the season premier of CSI.

Which Tony will watch for both of us so he can tell me when to look and when not to look.

It’s Thursday.

Which, in my book, is Friday Eve.

Lover of Letters. Lover of Words.

R
O
Magnet
A
letter n
N
e

My dear friend over at Bringing Up Daisy has just ruined my life.

I have loved letters since I was a VERY small child. I remember my mother getting onto me for putting a little tail on the end of my manuscript lower-case “a” when I was in kindergarten. “But it’s my CURSIVE ‘a,'” I remember saying plaintively. To no avail, she and my kindergarten teacher, our across-the-street-neighbor, Lucille, would have none of it.

I remember in 1st grade when my mother PAINSTAKINGLY printed the letters of my name

R O X A N N E

onto a little home-made, pink bag on which she had embroidered a yellow kitty sitting next to a red flower and looking at a blue butterfly. She then embroidered my name in black so it would stand out. It was my special bag to hold my flashcards. I was a struggling reader (IMAGINE THAT), and she was trying to encourage me to learn my sight words. She wasn’t happy with any of the iron-on embroidery letters she had, so she printed her own. I still have that bag.

I remember in 2nd grade when my school teacher mother finally threw up her hands and gave into my demands to learn to write in cursive. After years of “It’s too early.” “You’re doing it wrong.” “You’ll learn in 3rd grade.” She finally one day said, “If you’re going to do it, I might as well teach you the RIGHT way.”

I remember in 3rd grade when Mrs. Kennedy said, “Boys and girls, several of you are having trouble making a cursive capital B. I would like for one of our students to come and make one on the board so you can see how it should be done. Roxanne, would you please go and write a cursive capital B?” I was so excited and proud and nervous. . .I think it was the WORST capital B I ever made.

I cannot count the number of times I’ve written my alphabet for fun.

I have huge words on my wall at school in several fonts which I got from our library computers and blew up to larger sizes made out of several colors of scrapbook paper. It’s the Fruit of the Spirit in the guise of a word wall.

I’m so sneaky.

And when I just went in search of the name for someone like me–a lover of letters–a lover of words–I found this instead,

“From my youth upwards, I have been a lover of words, a chooser of words, in a slender and superficial manner, a student of words, and instead of acquiescing in such disparagement, reducing them almost to ‘ airy nothing,’ I proclaim myself ready to maintain against all comers that words are things; nay, and things of pith and moment, life and passion. Have we not the right word, the very word, the word of advice, the word in season, the word of comfort, the warning word, the cruel word, and the kind one? And what are these but things? How they fasten themselves on our memory, with a grasp never to be shaken off while life endures! How our associations cling and swarm, and cluster round them! How our hearts beat at the sound with recollected joy, grief, pity, hope, indignation, or gratitude! Things! Nay, I am more inclined to call them persons, in such vivid individuality of feature do they rise before ‘ the eye of mind.’ Have they not also—at least the more distinguished of their race—their pedigrees, their biographies, their private, sometimes their scandalous, histories and anecdotes? Are there not among them ranks and degrees, nobles and commoners, decent people and rabble, natives and aliens, legitimates and illegitimates, pure breeds and mongrels?”

From Memoirs, Miscellanies, and Letters of the Late Lucy Aikin

Isn’t that just wonderful? If I can’t take the credit for making those statements, at least I found them to enjoy.

And I swanee, this Flickr site is Satan’s candy.