Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Have a happy new year....
me and my chinese soup are loving you  :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Vote For Dave

"Because of the award that Dave received at the Goodguys show in September he's in the running for Street Rod of the Year. Click on the link, find the picture of his '41 flamed Willys and select it to vote. You can vote every 24 hours through the end of December!! Thanks"

Hot Rod Car Builder Best Friend Dave won a special car award from the BIG Deal Car Show guys this fall.  Because of it, he is nominated for the highly coveted Hot Rod of the Year award.  It really is a big deal, and he needs some votes.  Here is the internet link.  He is 4th row, first on the left.  :)  It is very flame-y.

This is more than just for bragging rights...this will help him in his hot rodding kingdom building as well as resale value of the car if he sells it.  :)

We just returned from Utah.  We are tired.  :)  Happy holidays.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Val's "Krank-y" Christmas

"Free Frosty.  Free Frosty."  I think Mr. Fun says it every time he drives into the driveway.  Here is why:

If you have seen "Christmas with the Kranks"
you will remember that they took the year off because
they were going to travel.  The neighbors weren't impressed.
See the red arrow.  That is the extent of our
Christmas decorating outside in Andersonville.
You know those movies where the whole street
is decorated and there is one house smack in the middle
that is black and lightless. 

That is us.  Right in the middle of five other homes
who are decorated. 

I felt the pressure so I put out the three snowflakes.

This is our neighbors.  Next door.
They moved in this summer.

Rest assured that my "Krank-yness" isn't just
limited to outside.

As evidenced by this years tree:


Monday, December 14, 2009

Aubric Cube :)

The Girl made this for fun this weekend.  :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Wanna take a field trip? Let's go see the Amish

During the Thanksgiving holiday, with all the company, we took those city dwellers about an hour northeast to a tiny town (and for you living somewhere bigger than tiny, I mean TINY--one stop SIGN--not light) named Jamesport.  It is an amish community, which actually it isn't.  Let me give you the run down about the Amish quickly:  (I took a tour once and this is what I remember)

Amish people have a national publication.  If I decided to start my own community (as they are called), I could place an ad in the publication and lay out where we would live, what our standards or community rules would be, etc.  Anyone could come join up with us. Jamesport is the largest amish community west of Pennsylvania.  It is a desired location for three main reasons:  they allow deodorant, indoor toliets, and the land is only $1,500 an acre vs. the Pennsylvania amish at $6,000 an acre.  This community has about 1,500 (last count I heard).  They allow trampolines (good exercise and they can sleep on them at night in the summer) no bikes (the folks could run away) and no curtains.  No carpeting so they make great rugs.  No buttons and they are allowed to shave their legs.  They have power...battery power.  Solar lights.  They don't have a church building, but members take turns hosting the whole group at their farm for church.  Which last four hours.  No soft pews.  Hard benches.  Meeting in reformed German.  These amish aren't allowed to live in town with the Mennonites, but they do business there...including shopping and banking.

It is considered RUDE and BLASPHAMOUS to take their picture, but I snapped some others to give you an idea.

I rode in the back of a car with three dogs on me. 
They were thinking "You're so dreamy" until they later met The Girl.

This is the hand of the driver....look carefully.  I put my index
finger up to compare the size of our hands for you.
He is huge.  I was hobbit sized compared to him.
That is why his dogs get to crawl all over me. 

Literature from the Mennonite Cafe where we had lunch.
I got these for the Girl.  I want her to be prepared
to be able to get out of spiritual prison.
"Hi, would you like some apple pie to go
with you on your way to Hell?" electricity

Jamesport is known for its baked goods
and baking items.  They have a great general
store of sorts and bulk food store.
That is a LOT of Rice Crispies.

Bags and bags of treats

Baby in an orange bag anyone? A little creepy

The view from the store bathroom.  Only light source. 
Glad no Amish men were roofing that day!

Bonus shots!  :)
A little farmland is your lucky day

These are huuuuuge farm bales.  This about three stories tall.

Who said Missourians aren't festive?
Happy Saturday.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I don't hear this at church too often

Did you catch this quote from a guy on Survivor tonight?
"The Lord freaking provides." 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Winter Wonderland

Walking (more like skidding in the tiny green truck)
through a winter wonderland...

Taking photos soothes my soul. 
We head west next week to the mountains.  :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Guest Blogger: My real self

I wrote this 29 days ago.  Feel strong enough to post it today. 

I remember once my "sister" (from another mother) Snarky Belle once said how much she weighed on her blog. It must have felt liberating. The truth I hear seems to set you free.

Here is the truth. I cried on Monday at the appointment with Seth's specialist, which I never do. She is there to run interface with the school, us, the doctors. Sort of a Cancer Coordinator without the cancer part. She is a pyschologist.

I didn't even want to type that word just now. My boy has a pyschologist AND to add salt to the wound, now a pyschiatrist.

I am embarrassed. I never asked Mr. Fun. Perhaps he is embarrassed too.

I cried because I am tired. I have been dealing with serious health issues for someone else or myself for over three years. I know I have caregiver fatigue. I miss my old life. Rotary. Lunch with girlfriends. Being alone during the day. Shopping. Serving....oh, I am serving now. But when you choose who and when you serve, it seems funner. More rewarding.

She says my feelings are expected. She says we are amazing. She says she uses our experience as the model family of coping. Hard to believe as I want to lay down in the fetal position, nursing a strong hot chocolate and watching endless reruns of "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"

There is a certain lonliness that comes from nursing a chronically ill child. A lonliness that one doesn't really understand until they do it. Just like anything I guess. Losing a child, adopting a child, have a wayward child. This is our child trial.

I read this in the newspaper the other day and it made me feel connected. It was response to some Dear Abby article and two mothers of chronically ill children wrote in.

And I quote:
Mother One:
Very few parents have the emotional energy, not to mention the time to be an advocate for their child's special needs (in a fundraising or community way). Our entire lives center around our children and their doctor's appointments, therapy, special schooling, adaptive schedule, medicines, equipment, etc.

Mother Two:
No one fully understands what a parent with a child with a disability goes through. First there is the emotional aspect. We grieve. It's not the same kind of grieving you do after a death. This is grieving that never ends. It cycles over and over. If you are not crying you are angry.

Some days you can accept and breathe; other days, you just can't. Anything can set you back and suddenly you are sobbing again. There is also the problem of not getting services you need. Once children are out of the school system, they sit and languish at home with no services. Living with that, we often can't never get or hold down jobs.

I don't usually feel like Mother Two.  I have more hope than that.  Found in my religious beliefs.  But even the faithful (or mostly faithful depending on the day) get tired.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The movie: The Blind Side

Seen it.  Loved it.  Give yourself a treat and see it too.  :) Thanks Mom and Dad for the invite.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bob the Builder Award: The Marines who dug by hand

I don't know much about football fields and their sizes. 
They are big.  That is what I know.

If you know me well, you may know that I hate to have
dirty hands.  I have some weird thing about washing them
as soon as they are dirty.  It isn't germ driven.  I am not worried
about that.  What bothers me is the texture of things on my skin.
Dirt, chalk, and most of all.....sand.
I hate hate hate sand.

So imagine if I were a Marine, dedicated to not leaving one
brother behind (which I love that thought).

Remember that pilot, Scott Speicher, shot down
in the first Persian Gulf War?
Eighteen years ago?

Come to find out, the Marines have looking for his body
this whole time.  To bring him home.

I don't know about the size of Iraq, but it seems a pretty
big place to find a skeleton.  I might have given up.

But the Marines didn't.  That is one reason why
they are so cool I think.

They did it.  They found Pilot Scott.

You know how they did it?

Based on local intel, the Marines dug BY HAND
"turning over four football fields
worth of desert sand 4 foot deep."

RIP Pilot Scott.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wanna take a field trip? World War One Museum

When America joined the Great World War in 1917, over half of the soldiers were trained through this large building in the front of this picture:  Union Station (which in itself is a really wonderful building).  The KC folks figured that after the soldiers got home, grew them some families, they would want to return to KC to show their families the train station and perhaps maybe get themselves some BBQ (world headquarters you know).  Maybe see where Val might live someday.  You know, really lifechanging stuff.  So the locals began collecting monies in 1920 to open a museum across the street from Union Station.  They figured it would take a couple years to get it all gathered.  Try a couple decades.

It took a dedicated group in KC 90 (!!!!) years to get the money together to build the museum.  And wow, is it worth the wait.

It is the only museum in the country for WW1.  There is only
ONE vet left from The Great War.  He is living in Virginia,
and is about 108.  He, of course, was born in Missouri.  :)

In a historical nutshell, the European countries fell apart
in their reign of monarchies
which started a chairn reaction
involving much of the industrial world. 
Suffice it to say that Germany was a big player in the
pot-stirring.  And the Russians.

Wow, I thought my tax bill was high.

To understand WW1 is to understand Trench Warfare.
You should read about it if you don't know, but it is
basically each side dug out hundreds of miles of trenches which
the soldiers LIVED in (open air mind you).  It was a way
to secure their holdings and border lands. 
The term "No Man's Land" comes from the strip of land
in the middle of the trenches, the land that was sort of a buffer zone.

You should read these writings because they say it much better than I can.

It is unbelieveable.

Everything in the collection is authentic.        

Surgical tools.

The famous Red Baron.  He was a real guy.

This is abou the famous Zimmerman Telegraph.
The pot-stirring Germans invited Mexico to go up
against the UNINVOLVED United States in
exchange for some land in the southwest US so Mexico
could expand.  America at this time was not in the war.
After the Brits intercepted this information,
America joined in.

There were a lot of marketing posters during those days.
They had to get a simple message out to mainly
uneducated people, promoting everyone doing
their part and serving "the cause."

I found this one interesting.  Not only are the
posters really well done pieces of art, but their
message could be very direct.  I liked this one
because if you remember your history...
women did not vote or have a voice.
After the women took a roll and filled duties
they never had, it was not hard to understand
why Sufferage happened in 1920.
Essentially they had proved they had "earned it."

There were 17 in our group who visited it the other day.
Not everyone was interested or involved.  Some rolled
down the grassy hills instead
(and got some grass stains on their favorite jeans).  :)

A pretty ending to a lovely day.
If you ever come to visit, I will take you there.
Be careful to not wear your favorite jeans.  :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bob the Builder Award: Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes and Chik Filet

Have you ever cried when you opened a shoe box?  I bet there is a kid or two who have.

Billy Graham and I probably have more in common than you would think at first glance.  We both believe in Christ and His work.  We both seem to be conservative.  We both have sent a child we don't know a shoe box full of candies and treats.  That is my favorite commonality.

Operation Christmas Child is a project administered by the Graham ministry called Samaritin's Purse. 

Regular people like you and me make the project go.  I heard about in SLC probably 15 years ago.  Mr. Fun and I were new college grads with a baby.  Money was tight, but I found a dollar store and filled the box to the brim with treasures like pencils, candy, small toys which were gender specific.  I added a couple dollars to help pay for the postage, a simple note from our family and dropped it at a local non-LDS church site.  There were boxes everywhere!  All shapes and sizes. Samaritan's Purse takes them around the world, and actually gives them with a small write-up about Jesus Christ.

 I did this every year for years, until the post got to expensive and the local church was not a collection site anymore. 

It was a sad day for me when I could no longer find a local site that participated.

But the other day, when we ate at Mr. Fun's Beloved Chick Filet, there were fliers everywhere regarding the project.  I am so happy! 

One year, we actually got a response from the box that we sent.  Her name was Sveta and she was a young girl from the Ukraine.  We pen paled with her for about a year, and then one day the letters stopped and we never heard from her again.  I don't know what happened to Sveta, but I do know that Billy Graham and his family kept their word and delivered our dollar store treasure box to her for us.  :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wanna take a field trip? Shaolin Monks come to Kansas

First....a big fat mid-west hello to my visiting "family" in, not Brother Brian and his crew who arrive Tuesday, but to the long lost cousins....the Shaolin Monks (pronouced like sh-ow (I hurt myself)-lin).  Cousins, Val?  What are you talking about?  That is a blog for another time.  :)  Stay tuned.  I am feeling very chines-y today.

Ever hear of a litte show from the 1970's called "Kung Fu?"  About a monk in the pioneer west who walked around and solved problems.  Kicked some butt when necessary  (For you Mormons, sort of the Asian version of one of the Three Nephites, only dressed in an orange set of jammies.)

The Shaolin Monk Order began in the year 525 and still are going strong today.  After a couple hundred years of practicing the art and meditation of Kung Fu, they actually thought they might be getting good.  This is according to their own writings.   Monks are peaceful buddists, and this is simply a form of expression for them. 

I read a book last year about a white kid from Kansas who trained with the monks in the 1990's.  It was a very interesting tale and when I heard they were coming to town (the white kid has come home long ago), we bought our tickets six months ago.  :) Holy hannah, this rocked.  :)

Let me just say that the pictures are less than stellar. 
They were taken with my pocket camera
without a flash.  Across a theater. 
But I had to show you what a treat it was. 

These boys were about 6 and 9.  They train, travel,
and live as monks.  They were monk "bat boys" in
the show as well as performed.

They were soooo fast.  Running, whacking, leaping.
They specialize in 18 different weapons.

It was hard to wrap my mind around the fact this
is their way of LIFE.  Not just a show. 
Not just a performance.  The monestaries send troops
all around the world to perform so they can earn money
for the monks back home to live.  If you are ever
in China and have time, you can go the monestary
directly and watch them train and perform.

Holy Cow!  Look who is on the sold out show
theater stage!  The Boy.  We were excited to see his
courage to go on up and participate.  Helloooo,
he was doing kung fu with real monks. 
Not too many kiddos can say that!

Here is the new monk in training.  I asked him
what the coolest part was.  He said that the monk
actually touched him and there is an energy.
A power that comes from them.  He said he just
felt respect for them and their abilities.  :)

I think I identified with this part of the show.  Notice
the monk in the background.  He was sweeping.  He was
probably upset about having to do his four bathroom floors
the other day too (see my last blog post). 
As a matter of fact, he was so upset....

that they laid down on giant Ginsu Knives.  The bottom
fella is a Master Monk (he gets to sport a beard).
Then the bed of nails was placed on him, then another monk,
then a slab of concrete that they smashed with the sledge
hammer.  These types of tricks are their speciality. 
It didn't leave a single mark.

It is called"Iron  ----." 
The monks train one certain part of their body,
whichever part they want, to become "iron."  All pieces.
Heads, hands, throats, backs, stomaches. 
All, and I mean all.  You get the point. 
Fortunately, we got the point without having to see
much more. 

This guy was obviously upset about having to do his bathroom
floors, he was hoisted up on six spears.
Look Ma, no hands!
Not a single mark, blood, or puncture wound on his tummy.
I didn't do the spears here at home. 
I ate an ice cream sandwich instead.  :) 
No mark, blood or puncture wound on my tummy.
Just additional fat.

They did such a wonderful presentation, visually.

Here they were saying "goodbye cousin Val.
Why didn't you invite US over for ice cream sandwiches?"

In all seriousness, if you ever get the chance to see them, GO.
There is no narration, so make sure you read up a little beforehand.  :)