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As evidenced by a few of the questions, Christmas is drawing nearer.  Am I ready?  Not really, but everything will come together in the end, as it always does.  Meanwhile, I hope you’ll play along by linking up with Joyce.  Thanks, Joyce, for the fun questions!

1.  Are you doing anything special to mark this season of Advent? If so please share.

I think I’m becoming a bit of a Scrooge the older I get and just can’t seem to find myself over-excited.  I think that over the last four years, work has drained me, leaving me with little energy or time to do the things I used to to mark the holiday season.  So, that’s my long-winded way of answering in the negative regarding this question.

2.  Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen…and of course you recall, the most famous reindeer of all…so, which reindeer name best describes you this week?

I’d love to say Vixen, but I can’t say that my outfits have had that WOW factor.  😀

Instead, I’ll go with Prancer, because prancing around my classroom, getting kids to stay on task, seems to be the name of the game ever since we got back from Thanksgiving break.  Learning?  What is that, the kids wonder.  Their minds have jumped ahead to Christmas vacation!

3.  What’s worse-too quiet or too loud? Which have you had more of lately?

Too loud is definitely worse and what I’ve had more of lately thanks to kids being unfocused and a bit too chatty (see question #2).

4.  This question comes to you from Zoanna over at A Penchant for Pens-thanks Zo!

When you are administratively gifted, how often do you find yourself not trusting less gifted people to do what they’ve committed to do?  If you are not so gifted that way, but are reliable, how do you feel when the stronger person (in that area) goes ahead and covers it before giving you a chance to come through?

I am the type of person who takes care of business when I say I will.  Thus, I have little tolerance for those who do not.  I tend to follow up…quickly…to ensure that things are getting done in a timely manner.  It does irk me if someone who has tasked me with something goes ahead and does it.  Don’t ask me to cover if you don’t really think I can!

5.  What is your most dreaded task relating to the holidays? Your most looked forward to holiday task?

My most dreaded task is putting away decorations, which I won’t have to worry about this year because I have not decorated.  Shocker, I know, but true all the same.

My most anticipated task is wrapping presents because it’s when I learn what the Mr. has purchased for people (bad, I know, but I trust his judgment enough to turn over shopping to him).

6.  Facebook has released its list of the ‘most talked about’ topics of 2013. Pope Francis took the number one spot.  Does that surprise you? He was followed by election, royal baby, typhoon, and Harlem Shake. Your thoughts? What was your most talked about topic in 2013? (Facebook, around the kitchen table, or wherever it is you talk)

The Harlem Shake made the most talked-about list of topics?  Wow.  The others listed do not surprise me.  Mankind is a nosy species, that’s for sure!  My most talked-about topics would be a toss-up between teaching and my children.

7.  What’s something you consider a necessity that others might view as a luxury?

Getting my nails done every pay check is a mental necessity that others often view as extravagant.  I care not what others think.  Going to the nail salon provides downtime that I need.  I work a lot of hours, both at school and from home, and I don’t really treat myself to things.  I don’t like to shop, except for books for my classroom, and I don’t do many other things for myself.  Having my nails look pretty makes me feel good.  I feel no guilt or embarrassment.

8.  My Random Thought

For a few years now, we’ve had a problem.  Pele, our now-oldest dog (Aubie was the oldest before she passed away in May) has insisted on sleeping on the couch.  It started when he was a puppy and we allowed him there.

I know…bad, bad, bad.

When Molly came into our home, she followed suit, and I’ll admit that it was fun to watch the dogs chase each other around the house and over the couches.

Yes, I am a redneck, and Martha Steward would be having a heart attack.

At some point, we got tired of getting up from the couch with an entire skin of fur on our backsides, so we banned the pups from the furniture.

It was a long, difficult adjustment, but Molly finally learned her lesson.

Pele did not.

He’s not the brightest bulb, let me tell you.

I resorted to putting dining room chairs on the couches to deter him.

Did I mention that Martha Stewart would be having a heart attack?

Last week, I had an idea…very random but so typical of me.

I pulled pink packing wrap from a box I’d had for years, covered my couches with them, and waited to see what would happen.

Guess what?

The dogs did not disturb the wrap!

Not the first day, nor the second, third, or fourth.

It’s been about a week, and the wrap continues to do its job.

In fact, Molly is scared of it when I move it to sit down.


The wrap is so much less of a pain than picking up two chairs, turning them over, and laying them down, only to pick them up later when anyone wants to sit.

Did I mention that I have moments when I surprise myself with my brilliance?


How Did I Get Myself Into This?

Sometimes I could just kick myself.  I often allow myself to be talked into something and then start hyperventilating afterwards.

I’m sure you have NO idea what I’m talking about.  You’re probably MUCH smarter than me.

I had innocently shown up for Bible Study on Wednesday night…written notes in the margin of my text…actually prepared for a change.  The leader of the group sat down and began by telling us of a need in the church.

Always eager to help, we began to listen with rapt attention.

My church hosts an annual ladies’ retreat.  The ladies are treated to a luncheon during the weekend.  Women in the church decorate the tables where the ladies sit to eat.

Yeah, you’re probably beginning to see where I’m leading you, eh?

This year, the church is short 11 hostesses.  That’s 88 ladies who need to be prepared for, with each table hosting eight women.

My Bible Study leader finished explaining and turned her eyes toward me, who happened to be playing Teacher’s Pet by sitting beside her.

That will teach me!

I adamantly refused at first, and she questioned why.

I’ll try to explain.

I’m not exactly good at playing hostess.  I’ve had very little experience doing so.

I do not regularly invite adults to eat at my home.  I’m afraid that I’m a bit socially inept.

Ok.  Simply put…I’m shy.

And I lack confidence.

I am no Martha Stewart.

To be fair…I’m not required to cook for the women at my table.  Thank goodness.  I could just hear Chef Ramsey yelling obscenities at me.  Maybe he would hold back since it’s a church, but I’ll bet you anything that a few mild ones would escape from his mouth.

The tables only need to be decorated with place settings and other accents. Each hostess gets to select a theme of her choosing.

Now…something else I feel like I’ve done that set me up for this is that I’ve talked too much…about my knitting.

I know a few of you who read my blog.  You’re my IRL friends too.  You know that the above sentence is undeniably the truth.

If you spend an hour with me, you’ll quickly learn that I LOVE to knit.  I’ll show you whatever is in my knitting bag at the moment and even pull my feet out my shoes to show off the latest pair of socks I’ve just finished.

So, it was natural for Ms L, as I’ll call my leader, to say, “You could do a knitting table.”


Why did she have to pick something I like so much.

“No,” I insisted.  “I cannot do this.  I’m not creative.  Just because I can knit doesn’t mean I can put plates, napkins, and a centerpiece together in such a way that they won’t want to throw up.”

Reading a knitting pattern is easy compared to free handing.  I mean, I was taught to color in the lines and trace pictures, for heaven’s sake.


You know what I think it boils down to?  I’m afraid that my table won’t measure up to the other hostesses’ tables.  I do not want to embarrass myself.  Sometimes I think that I’m a teenager stuck in an adult body (although I was mistaken for a 12th grader yesterday…a story for another time).

As these thoughts ran through my mind, I think I heard the Holy Spirit speak to me.  The message I heard was that it’s not about me.  It’s about God and serving Him.  It’s about putting my worries in His more-than-capable hands.  It’s about letting go of my pride.  He will provide the ideas.  I just need to trust.

Another lesson in trust…only in a different area of my life.

So, just like the regular job that God has blessed me with, I’ll trust that He will send me a vision of what this table is to look like.

If you have any suggestions that do not require extra money, please let me know.

Here’s what I need:

A centerpiece…small enough for the ladies to see over so they can talk to one another.  I’m thinking about using my humongous knitting needles stuck into a basket with yarn (acrylic yarn cakes…not my good stuff, mind you…church is for sinners, and some thief might just walk off with my yarn…said in jest…sort-of).

I have to provide eight sets of dinner plates (can be china, everyday – mine is chipped, acrylic, or fine paper as they are only chargers), dessert plates, flatware, glasses and/or coffee cups, and napkins.

I also need salt and pepper shakers, a butter dish, sugar dish, and water and/or tea pitcher.

Oh yeah…the overall theme of the retreat is flip-flops.  I wonder if I can incorporate this into my knitting-themed table.

At the bottom of my “instruction sheet” is this verse:

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for me,…It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” — Colossians 3:23-24

Yeah…I think I’m supposed to do this table.  I’m just going to need some help from my heavenly Father and earthly friends.

AuburnChick Wants to Get in Shape

If you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you know that I’m not exactly Martha Stewart.  My decorating skills leave much to be desired.

Perhaps this is just a matter of what style you prefer.  Me…I go for practicality…functionality.  A home is where you go to relax after a stressful day.  You should have your stuff around you, where it’s easy to get to.

Remember that I have a ping pong table in my den, and baskets of yarn scattered here and there.  For a while, Rockin’ Rooster’s drum set graced my dining room.

Last week, I added this to the mix:

Image 15.0 R Treadmill

Image 15.0 R Treadmill

Here’s a close-up of the top:

I’ve been wanting to incorporate some exercise into my schedule, but it’s really hard to find the time.  I thought that if I bought a treadmill, I could walk while I was watching TV.  Another problem I have is that when it gets cold, the tops of my ears get really cold, leading to a headache.  Of course, I’ve got my new hat I could wear, but it’s still cold outside during winter.  You just can’t avoid it.  Because I’m very, very cold-natured, walking indoors appeals to me greatly.

I was aghast when I priced these babies.  I do not have $1000 lying around waiting to be spent.  Most people don’t.  Someone suggested I try Craig’s List.  Sure.  Like my small town is going to have any listings.

Boy was I surprised.

I found two listings for the walking machines!  I researched both models and then contacted the seller of the one I deemed more worthy of my attention (one of the reviews is located here).  My email was quickly answered, and I made an offer, talking her down from $250 to $200.  A sweet deal for an item that was used about four times.

The treadmill has a fan and several different programs that allow for inclining.  It also folds up.

The gal was nice enough to deliver it since I don’t own a vehicle large enough to tote anything of this sort.

So it’s sitting in my dining room, taking up a large amount of space.  And I haven’t used it yet.  I will.  I’ve just been tired and recovering from blisters from shoes that should not be worn while subbing (lesson learned).

Rockin’ Rooster has used it three times already.  He loves it!  He’s taking Personal Fitness online at the Florida Virtual School, and he often has to run a mile.  This will be much easier for him.

I’m all about that.  Making things easier.  Just don’t tell Martha.

Martha Stewart Would Faint

As you are all probably aware, I’m not exactly the most suave gal. My cooking skills are…well…lacking. Actually, I can’t stand to cook. My cleaning skills are…well…lacking. I can’t stand to clean. My gardening skill are…well…lacking. Just take a look at my yard.  I’m sure the neighbors wish I would grow myself a green thumb or hire a gardener.

I think you get the point (and you’re probably wondering exactly what I do with myself when I get home).

You see, when you walk into your house after work and find this…

in your dining room…

…you know that Martha Stewart hasn’t been decorating your home.

Youngest Chicklet decided to relocate his drum set out of his room. He wanted more space…to do what, exactly, I have no idea. So, he decided to redecorate my dining room. The dining room table is no longer centered below the light fixture. Oh no…it’s almost in the middle of my house now.

Although I am a very strict mom, for some reason this type of thing does not bother me. I mean, we’ve already put this…

…in our den.

What in the world is it? Well, it’s the ping pong table we bought for Youngest Chicklet’s birthday last month. Of course, Mr. AuburnChick couldn’t buy some cheap-o brand. Oh no. He went out and bought one of the finest. We wanted something that could be folded up and tucked away in a corner.

Somehow, the more $$ you spend, the bigger the table.

We tried putting it in the garage. No go. With Soccer Chick driving (with only her permit, though), we never know which vehicle we’re taking out of the garage. She prefers to drive the Jeep. I take the other car to work. Plus, the instruction manual clearly states that the table must be stored indoors.


So, I rearranged a bit of furniture to make room for the table. At least it’s accessible when the Chicklets’ friends come over. That was the main reason why we shelled out the dough for it.

So now we have a drum set and a ping pong table centrally located in our not-very-big house.  When you add a knitter’s stuff to the mix, you have a problem.

Throw in a little yarn here…

…and there…

…And here…

…And here (this one is messy…it stays hidden in the bedroom)…

…And here…

Well, you get my point. Martha Stewart would pass out at my audacity.

Oh, she’d like the yarn, at least some of it. I have some fine skeins in there. But it’s obvious that I do not have the gift of interior design. My goal is to keep the yarn as far away from the dogs as possible. Beyond that, I don’t really care too much what the arrangements look like.

Yep…living in my house is like digging into a box of assorted chocolates. Always an adventure. You never know from one day to the next what you’re gonna find.  But who cares. The fun is in the tasting…or in our case…the living. What’s the good of having things if you can’t have them out to enjoy them.

I can say this and mean it since the Chicklets are at church and not banging away on the drums (one of the advantages of having them in the bedroom was that you could shut the door to drown out some of the noise).

I’ll just turn up the volume on my laptop when I’m listening to KnittingRose or Stitch-It and live my somewhat happy-go-lucky life.

Martha Stewart can have her pristine house. I’ll keep my lived-in, not-so-fancy, redneck home.

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