Easter vacation

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Last night I turned off my Saturday morning alarm, in anticipation of the first full day of Easter vacation (aka “spring break”). I had every intention of sleeping in, as I had no real responsibilities until time to go to work in the late afternoon. My well-trained self only managed an extra forty minutes before waking up. Still I looked forward to at least an hour or so of peace and quiet before anyone else woke up. I didn’t even make a cup of tea or let the dog out — I was being that quiet. But to no avail.

Ten minutes later, Miss Olivia crept into my room. She had slept in her daddy’s pup tent in the middle of the living room, and she was awake and ready to play — before 8:00 a.m.! Very soon she conned me into getting into the tent with her, and then she decided to fill it with animals. My job was easy: Lie comfortably (??) on the tent floor, ready to be piled with stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes.

Here I am, surrounded by animal friends.

Don't I look comfy surrounded by Olivia's animals?

Don’t I look comfy surrounded by Olivia’s animals?

And here is Olivia, happily dressed in her “Elf on a Shelf” jammies from Christmas.

Her arms and legs are carefully disguised in her Elf on a Shelf pajamas.

Her arms and legs are carefully disguised in her Elf on a Shelf pajamas.

She eventually filled the entire floor of the tent with animals, then took pity on me and allowed me to escape. I have a feeling that there will be more tent-time in my future. Stay tuned.

Gardening time

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Today was our first real gardening time of the spring. Everyone but Lily (who was still at school) pitched in and attacked the overgrown weeds and plants in the front yard. The weed-whacker, rakes, brooms, and clippers were wielded with glee, and Olivia was provided with her very own “little green weeds” to pull. Our first batch of annuals was planted (petunias and verbena), and we talked about putting in a rose-bush in next to the elm tree.

The only down side to our work day was the heat, which was sitting at about 85 degrees while we worked. I absolutely HATE sweating, but I certainly was. And poor Melody was having snow flurries in Ohio. There is no justice. At work tonight I was stiff and creaky, and it took me several hours to realize that it was only my body protesting against weed-pulling and guest seating in the same day. Oh, well…this body needs the exercise to keep it moving!

Happy Spring! Tomorrow is supposed to be a smidgen cooler…I hope!

Poetry and prose

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For the second year in a row, Lily and several of her friends took part in the Poetry and Prose competition at their elementary school. And again her group of four girls were among those chosen to represent their school at the competition on the county level. Lily’s group was the first to compete, and Lily led them in introductions, so her voice was the first one heard today. I sat next to her mom and dad in the first row of spectators and beamed with pride as the girls flawlessly presented their poem by Shel Silverstein. We weren’t the least bit surprised by their “Superior” rating.

Her beautiful "Superior" certificate

Her beautiful “Superior” certificate

When we gathered outside afterwards and I asked her what the best part of the day was, she explained it was getting to ride a school bus for the first time from her school to the Office of Education. I’m glad she didn’t let her terrific performance go to her head!

The Three Musketeers after their successful performances (they were on separate teams, but each earned a Superior rating).

The Three Musketeers after their successful performances (they were on separate teams, but each earned a Superior rating).

Baby carrots

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Tomorrow is Olivia’s last day of Preschool before Easter Vacation, so they are having a little party. Olivia’s contribution for everyone is baby carrots, so her mom and I decorated them just a bit.

Baby Carrots for Olivia's classmates...Close To My Heart "Some Bunny" stamp with chocolate and lagoon inks.

Baby Carrots for Olivia’s classmates…Close To My Heart “Some Bunny” stamp with chocolate and lagoon inks.

Silent honor

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Well, Danielle Steel has done it again. A couple of nights ago I stayed up and finished Girl in Translation, by Jean Kwok, and then started in on Forever Friends, by Danielle Steel. As is my wont, I finished it in one satisfying sitting. And then this morning after taking the girls to school and visiting my mechanic briefly with my misbehaving Jeep, I opened Silent Honor and was immediately captured.

I have been both outraged and fascinated by the so-called “relocation camps” where the Japanese in America were detained during WWII, and Silent Honor provides such an accurate telling of the privations and small miracles that occurred in those camps. My son’s father, grandparents, and great-grandparents were interned in Arkansas, and although my mother-in-law wouldn’t discuss it, I know the family was very traumatized by the losses they suffered. In typical Danielle Steel fashion, she told a complex story that simply begged to be finished, and the last few pages left me with goose-bumps. This was truly a very good read. (And yes, I finished it this evening. That’s three books in three days. Happiness!)

2015 Reading Goal: 9, 10, 11/50.

Five hundred posts

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According to the elves at WordPress.com, this is post number 500 for me here at Trigger’s Horse. The whole idea that I have written 500 snippets of my thoroughly-lived life and shared them with you here is mind-boggling to me. Since anniversaries of any sort call for a bit of introspection, I have been thinking about what I might have learned along the way. So here goes:

1. The blogosphere is filled with too many good people to attempt to count or categorize. Some, like AnnMarie over at anntogether.com and Deb from C-Dog & Co, have become such good “imaginary friends” that when a day goes by without a comment or post from them, I miss them. Some, like Sarah Bessey at Sarah Bessey.com inspire me by their out-of-the-box thinking and wide independent streaks. There are young ones, like Adi at The Happy Lifeaholic who are from the youthful end of the spectrum, while others (like me) are a bit grey around the edges. And each one of them make my life richer.

2. Blogging every day is possible. On nights when my heart is overflowing with sorrow or joy, I can write. The comments from my readers offer messages of healing, compassion, and hope — plus a healthy amount of “been there, done that”. If ideas are eluding me, I can share a Lily or Olivia story. Even better, I can share a small bit of inspiration from Mom’s journals.

3. I don’t have to be brilliant to blog. Often it is the simplest stories that resonate the deepest with my readers.

4. Blogging is satisfying. Seeing my words in print still pleases me as much with the five hundredth post as it did with the first.

5. You, my readers, bring me joy, and I am grateful.

Library books

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The girls and I made our every-other-week trip to the Library on Friday and brought home a stack of books nearly as tall as Olivia. Among my finds were not one, but two Danielle Steel novels I don’t remember reading, plus one that looks pretty fascinating called “Words Onscreen: The fate of reading in a digital world,” by Naomi S. Baron. I’m smack in the middle of “Girl In Translation” (have I ever mentioned that I LOVE to read?) I am home and the rest of the house is asleep, so I’m going to say “good night” and jump into my pile of bucks.

Good night.

Little Lambs Crop

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I spent today at the Little Lambs Preschool Crop in Exeter…the fourth annual fundraiser for the preschool. It is always so beautifully planned and executed, with fabulous food, adorable treats, more delicious food, great make-and-takes, and even more food. These sweet goodies showed us where to sit:

The little purse had chocolates inside, the dress held a lip gloss, and the pink stack was filled with peanut butter cups!

The little purse had chocolates inside, the dress held a lip gloss, and the pink stack was filled with peanut butter cups!

And these were our table centerpieces:

Can you believe these were made from paper?  Adorable!

Can you believe these were made from paper? Adorable!

And to make life even sweeter, the card I entered won the card-making contest (but I forgot to take a picture of it!).

Friday night

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I came home from work tonight to a lovely house: The girls snuggling in to camp on the living room floor, Lily reading poetry aloud and watching television, and Olivia building a cozy sleeping spot by the end table. We had company in the garage, too, figuring out how best to share the PS2. I, gratefully, did not need to make any middle-of-the-night shopping stops on the way home.

I am scrapbooking in Exeter tomorrow and, once again, I don’t have any new pictures printed out to use. But I have box after storage box of already printed pictures, just waiting under my bed. I look forward to my “naked scrapping” style, interspersed by pages with accents and journaling. And I have greeting cards “in process” for my Etsy store, too. I will drive over early and unpack my car, then come back into Visalia to work through the middle of the day, then back to Exeter until 11:00 p.m.

Very satisfying!

Paying it forward

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Last week I watched a video segment of “What Would You Do?” where a series of grocery store customers (actually actors) were at the check stand when they realized they didn’t have enough money to pay for their purchases. Hidden television cameras then captured the reactions of other customers standing behind them, as one or another of them stepped up to pay for the groceries. Most of the segments were heartwarming and brought a tear to my eye.

After the basketball awards for Olivia tonight, I decided to go to Target for ice cream. Once there, of course, I added a number of other items, including a new brand of hair coloring, milk, and bagels. When the clerk gave me the total due, I commented about what an expensive container of ice cream that was (just shy of $50). She smiled as I ran my debit card through the machine, chose “no cash back” and “yes, I want it all on the card”. Then I was stunned to see “unable to process card” or something similar pop up on the screen. I ran it through again, thinking perhaps I had hit a wrong button for my debit card number. No, it still said “unable to process card”. My credit union had notified me earlier this week that my debit card had potentially been compromised and they were sending me a new one, as well as limiting my usage until the new one came. Fortunately I had a back up. I knew there wasn’t enough room on my emergency card for everything, so I asked her to remove the hair coloring and several totally unnecessary items, then tried my emergency card. Again it said, “unable to process card”.

By this time there were several other people lined up at the register behind me, and they were getting restless at the delay. Trying not to lose my temper, I quietly told the clerk I would have to put everything back. About that time a young woman stepped forward from the check out line and spoke to the clerk. “Add the hair coloring and everything back on, please,” she said, holding out her debit card. “I’ll take care of it.” In amazement, I told her she was going to make me cry. “Don’t worry about it,” she said, giving me a hug. As I tried to explain and thank her adequately, she stepped back into line and the clerk put my groceries in my cart. Before leaving, I walked over and hugged her again, promising to pay her generosity forward.

I am a lot better at giving than receiving, especially from someone I don’t even know. But she was so gracious in her generosity, obviously not wanting me to make a big deal of it. I wish I had gotten her name, but I was rather rattled! It is truly hard to comprehend how, in this tight economy, someone would simply step up and pay a bill for someone else. I was almost ashamed that there were frivolous items in my cart…nothing like looking at my purchases through the eyes of a stranger! I am so incredibly grateful…and humbled…and will be passing on her quiet gift to someone else.

What will you pay forward this weekend?

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