Sunday, December 31, 2006

good will toward men

i don't usually advocate taking a pic of one's own chest to post on your blog, because it's not really that kind of site.

but it didn't occur to me until i put it on, that i love my new shirt alot (purchased WITH CASH in the target clearance section yesterday)...

but shouldn't it say "good will TOWARD men?"
here are the top ten new year's resolutions of americans, courtesy some blog i read ... plus my comments about each one :) happy resolutions to all, and happy brand new year!

1 Lose Weight - if there is a time limit on resolutions, i have expired this one a LONG long time ago. changing it to "weigh whatever for now, because Jesus has a new body waiting for me!!" (wouldn't it be funny if it's a perfectly chubby one?!)

2 Pay Off Debt - only if they pry the credit card out of my hand when i'm rummaging thru the target clearance aisles...

3 Save Money - how about "not relying on money to make you happy?"

4 Get a Better Job - not possible, of that i am fairly certain!

5 Get Fit - then i would have to dust the treadmill!! see yesterday's post.

6 Eat Right - sometimes, chocolate chips eaten out of the bag just feel "right."

7 Get a Better Education - does reading Martha Stewart's LIVING and learning how to make homemade marshmallows count?

8 Drink Less Alcohol - finally, an easy one! anyone want the one bottle of "big house white" in my fridge?!

9 Quit Smoking Now - or "encourage others (ie phillip) to think about quitting smoking while he still actually HAS LUNGS."

10 Reduce Stress Overall - might mean rethinking the decision to get a cat who decides to go into heat 2 weeks after purchase, one week BEFORE spay appointment - 24 hours into it, and i want to go throw her out in the street!

11 Reduce Stress at Work - perhaps by setting blogging time limit each day (NOT 6 hours). oh, and NOT sharing a home office with a cat in heat.

12 Take a Trip - away from above-mentioned cat at this point in time.

13 Volunteer to Help Others - anybody need anything? i'm there!! especially for YOU guys.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

siesta seconds that!

hmmm. only moments after posting about messy housekeeping, i walked down the stairs to discover this fiasco...leftover from a night of fun in the basement! i guess siesta likes to party with salsa while beener and i are peacefully sleeping upstairs.

as i was cleaning this up, she was laying there snottily thumping her tail, watching me carefully avoid the glass shards with my bare feet, and i could swear i could hear her saying "that's RIGHT, sistah, messes rule."


yes to mess

An anti-anticlutter movement is afoot, one that says yes to mess and urges you to embrace your disorder. Studies are piling up that show that messy desks are the vivid signatures of people with creative, limber minds (who reap higher salaries than those with neat “office landscapes”) and that messy closet owners are probably better parents and nicer and cooler than their tidier counterparts. It’s a movement that confirms what you have known, deep down, all along: really neat people are not avatars of the good life; they are humorless and inflexible prigs, and have way too much time on their hands.

“It’s chasing an illusion to think that any organization — be it a family unit or a corporation — can be completely rid of disorder on any consistent basis,” said Jerrold Pollak, a neuropsychologist at Seacoast Mental Health Center in Portsmouth, N.H., whose work involves helping people tolerate the inherent disorder in their lives. “And if it could, should it be? Total organization is a futile attempt to deny and control the unpredictability of life. I live in a world of total clutter, advising on cases where you’d think from all the paper it’s the F.B.I. files on the Unabomber,” when, in fact, he said, it’s only “a person with a stiff neck.”

the above was taken in part from an article in the New York Times...looks like i can cross one item off my new year's resolution list! it's a great article, and it makes me laugh to think about my sad attempts to be a good housekeeper. the thing that i've discovered is that YOU HAVE TO KEEP DOING IT. man, not sure that is worth the effort. so, i clean up the house about once a week, and my office whenever i start tripping over the stuff in it. i daydream about file folders and wicker bins and tidy bookshelves. but then i go eat a cookie and watch "flip that house."

some of my friends, however, might want to check this article out...not that i'm expecting YOU will change anytime soon, either :)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

these are days

I fully admit to being a child of the 70s...but i became a grownup (kind of) in the 80s, and i have alot of good memories from that decade – of working at sdsu as a graphic artist, and meeting my good friends sue and kirsten there, 'cause we all worked in the instructional media center, making student i.d.s, chatting and watching the clock (time went much slower, btw).

it was way back then that my music tastes started to change. i grew up mostly with country music, and guys like johnny cash and kenny rogers were really all i knew of. i was not one of the first ones to discover 10,000 maniacs, but later in the 80s i fell in love hard! not only with natalie merchant and her buddy michael stipe from rem, but with practically anybody from athens, georgia. for many many years, i fantasized about moving to athens and living the artsy bohemian lifestyle i thought i was meant to live.

these days, i still wonder about artsy bohemian lives, heck, maybe i even kind of have one. but now it's austin, texas where the real artists live, and lord knows WHO the new natalie is!

it doesn't matter, cause i am happily listening to her "campfire songs" this afternoon, and feeling young again!

time out

wow, getting back to work after the christmas break is painful. here it is, thursday already, and i am still procrastinating. today i MUST get some things done!

i've done everything i can to avoid work. i have checked every blog i know of (dang, almost nobody blogs on christmas!!) and i've played with both cats until they are sick of me. i've made coffee with christmas gift [a] - a new cuisinart coffee maker from m&d, and now i am fixated on christmas gift [b] - some very colorful garden clogs from phil's mom in california.

she said to wait for summer to wear them, but i think they are just the thing for a post-holiday pick me up!!!

whoever said staring at your feet was boring, did NOT own a pair of these.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

design assistant

for a minute there it looked like siesta was going to help me out on the computer, until i figured out it was really santino (betta fish) that she has her eye on!

uh oh. santino and andrae better be careful!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

good gifts

well, as the christmas weekend gets into full swing, my thoughts turn to gifts. all of the holiday shopping is actually done, but the gifts i am talking about are the ones you can't plant under the tree.

and i am very thankful for all of them.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. james 1:17

• for the family God placed me into, my mom and dad and brother, whom i love so much and who gave me the grounding to be who i am...

• for the friends God has placed around me, all ages and all varying backgrounds, but with the common ground of time, and place, and meeting in the heart and mind...

• for phillip, who i waited a LONG time for, and have found such joy in sharing my life with...

• for the home, the work, the garden, the "possessions" that God has allowed me to hold onto for Him, for awhile...

• for the furry creatures that roam in this life, beener and siesta and the bunnies and birds and squirrels that make life more interesting...

• for the purpose, the desire to live each day fully, in abundance, with hope and joy and love...

• for the grace He has shown, since i was born 44 years ago, to the time 5 years ago that i finally came home to live with Him, and even still...

i pray that each of you experience all of God's good gifts this christmas also, beginning with His love and care!

merry christmas :)

Friday, December 22, 2006

word clouds

oh my. too much time on my hands again, so i went surfing...found a really really neat thing...called a word cloud. they are supposed to be for sale, but you can make one just to see what they look like.

very neat in the context of all this talk about favorite words lately. this computer program combs thru your website (blogsite), picks out random words and "designs" them into a visual.

i notice that many of the important things from my blog are there (God, beener, carey, tomatoes) but not phillip?! doh. for the most part i'm happy with it, although i find it funny that "beer" is part of my word cloud. and right next to love is "mean"...? oh well, busted!!

check it out:

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

meet siesta

well, i think we have a name here.

she is still living in the basement, and still hissing whenever she gets a whiff of been. but you know what, she is very cute and already has won my heart. she has her vaccinations, and i have been calling her george.

phillip rejected that quickly ("you can't give her a real person's name") and came up with...siesta.

i have to admit, that is a pretty good one. and since i have been famous for naming pets names like pooch, and tigger, and well, beener, who am i to judge?! so, don't tell him i said so, but he wins.

welcome to the family, siesta, hope you can stay awhile :)

YIKES. what a word!

a fellow blogmate had a great post about the word "argh" yesterday. as anybody who knows my email habits can tell you, i use the word "argh" in many creative forms. often.

it got me thinking about my all-time, no questions asked, life long favorite word.


back in 8th grade, when i was the brookings middle school argus leader spelling champion, this was one of my study words! it's so fantastic, but i wonder who thought of it. the spelling is crazy, i used to be able to roll it off easily, but in my old age sometimes i need to stop and think for a sec.

still, it's a good word. probably because using an onomatopoeia is something all advertising people like to do. they are so direct, so easy to figure out, so YOWZA! fun... :)

ha. sometimes i fantasize about being a college professor...(i know, i'm a little weird). and if that fantasy ever comes true, i am going to assign my students the word onomatopoeia and ask them to illustrate it creatively.

come to think of it, i need to do that too!
SHEESH. as if i don't have enough to do already.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

wanna hear a good joke?

okay, stop right here if you are not a graphic designer. but if you are one, this is kinda funny.

a font walks into a bar and sits down. the bartender looks at him and says "get out of here, you're not our type."

:) so glad my professional membership to the american institute of graphic arts is good for something. this was overheard last week at a members' event.

I love first

i woke up this morning, worrying about the cat and looking at a full calendar and wondering what happened to my plan to have a nice peaceful week. oh yeah, i might want to pray about that.

i am listening right now, to our church sermon from last sunday. another nice thing about the internet is that you can listen to almost anything you choose to, from itunes to church services, while you are online.

sometimes, but not nearly often enough, i listen to my pastor's sermon. i attend a wonderful church pastored for the last 20 years by a wonderful man, ron traub. he is 60 years old, came to SD from detroit michigan with his wife margo many years ago, answering God's call and not really wanting to move to the middle of nowhere with us in SD. but he did it, and he stayed. and i don't think God was making a mistake, pastor traub has helped change lives here, including mine.

the tagline for our church is "love first" - combining the Lord's commandments and the name of our church, First Assembly of God.

today, if you are sitting online with some extra time, you might want to check us out!

Monday, December 18, 2006

uh oh

well, if i were jewish, i'd be asking for a little "shalom in the home" right now!

turns out mini-me is a feisty one. she is nothing but pure sunshine and sugar with me, but when she spots beener, the ears go back flat, and she lets out one of those deep throaty growl/yowl noises that always scares the heck out of me. been is pretty oblivious, he looks at her and then looks at me like "what's her deal?"

so much for advertising. she was billed like this:

DESCRIPTION: Connie was found as a stray on Hillside Drive. She's front declawed, litterbox trained and she loves to be brushed. Connie is very laid back; curious and she loves to explore her surroundings. LIKES: Kids; Cats; Strangers

i would agree that she is curious and loves to explore. ditto on the litterbox training. but as i was sitting on the couch last night watching her, i was just a bit surprised when she hauled off and started shredding the arm of the couch. and she had all the tools to do it, if you know what i mean. to top it off, she really really REALLY looks pregnant, will find that out with the first vet visit! oh man.

i guess the next couple of days will be interesting as we all adjust to the new life. i am asking the Lord today "why do i always want instant gratification, when you seem to prefer perseverance?"

Sunday, December 17, 2006

mini-me for beener


beener the cat just wanted you all to know - he finally has a real live "mini-me"!

she's a girl, about a year old, yet unnamed (well, she came with the name Connie, but that has to go) and currently is residing in the basement under a big chest on some pillows, until it seems safe to come out.

been isn't exactly thrilled with the addition, but then again, he did sniff around a bit and then go lay on the bed for a nap and/or contemplation of the whole deal.

so far, it's looking like a smooth addition to the family :))


after talking to lk on friday, i started thinking about the garden again. i remembered back to growing up, when my mom and i always looked forward to getting the gurneys catalogue in the mail. we went thru it page by page, and imagined the beautiful new gems that we would try to grow. we usually placed a small order in the spring too, and somehow the spindly roots and sprigs of life wrapped in plastic never even came close to living up to the dreams we had in our heads!

but it probably explains some of my love of magazines, and of course gardens (well, and actually, my mom!). so in the spirit of gurneys, and going back to your roots, i went online today and ordered a few seed catalogues. most of them are fancier than the old days, organic seeds and seed trading companies and herb catalogues and such. but you know what? this time i know that THE DREAM is what it's all about, not the end result :)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

come out come out wherever you are

lately some of us bloggers have been discovering that there are people who view our sites who never comment! not a large number, because not that many people really know our domain names, or care enough to stalk us anyway :)

last night, one of my "blokkers" outed herself, and it was a great surprise! she got thru to the site from another friend of ours, who lives in st. is a longtime friend from way back when at our sdsu days, she lives in seattle now and called me in the middle of a helacious storm there, to tell me she reads my blog.

wow! who knew?! we all hear those stories about email relationships, and the danger of communicating only electronically, and the separation of society we are facing as we all sit in our little individual cubes and "talk" to each other via the internet.

but i gotta tell ya, i don't think lk and i would have talked at all last night if NOT for the whole blog was great, because we shared stories about homeless neighbors, and jobs and gardens and even God, all because there were common elements from my blog to grasp onto. after such a long time, i think it was a nice blessing that she stalked my blog, and i welcome her to do it anytime! the same goes for any other "blokkers" that might be reading, you have my permission anytime to spend time on The Back Forty!

now, k, we gotta get lk to make her OWN blog. i am not above the possibility of stalking HER too!


Friday, December 15, 2006


ah. friday. i awoke early, feeling a little introspective today. it started with an innocent comment from K about my blog. she noted the duality of the posts, from a steadfast awe in Jesus to a wordly fixation with television "stars" - and she hit it exactly. the blog entries usually don't lie - they are a dead giveaway to my heart!

i wonder.

i wonder about how easy it is to lose our focus, to distort the cross with all of the other "stuff" that gets in the way. sometimes even GOOD stuff, like loving your family and friends, and mentoring and laughing and blogging.

of all of the books of the bible, i am most drawn to the book of acts. i am amazed at the transformation of the people when the Holy Spirit comes upon them. they didn't just "act like christians" - they WERE completely new! they met every day and worshipped with each other, they gave their troubles and their hopes and their ambitions to the One who gave THEM life! they saw that God was for everybody, not just a few but all, and decided their lives were going to be about THAT, not something else.

as a believer, i want the book of acts and today to be the same thing. i want to be one of the ones who is empowered by the Spirit to speak about the Lord, not one of the ones who gets tangled up in "stuff" and misses the point!

i want today to be about sitting at the throne of God. grateful for Him, unfazed by all of the madness going on around me. untroubled by the long list of things i don't possess, without fear about dreams that might not come true. grateful for the One who knows me, who knows i'll be okay, because he planned it that way. hopeful for the way i don't even know yet, that He has planned for me if i'll accept it. grateful for those around me who know what i know, and want to proclaim it also :)

today is going to be a good day! embrace it with me, won't you?

The whole congregation of believers was united as one—one heart, one mind! They didn't even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, "That's mine; you can't have it." They shared everything. The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master Jesus, and grace was on all of them.

Acts 4:32

Thursday, December 14, 2006

okay, so i've had two meetings so far with my new mentee J.

last week, i brought a bunch of scrapbooking paper and colored pencils from home, and we made "mini" christmas cards...we are going to finish up this week with that project, it was fun for both of us.

now, next week is the week before christmas. we ARE allowed to give gifts, they should be small. WHAT do i do? i know she is artistic, and also loves music. i know she is smart, but doesn't have alot of books at home to read. i DONT know what kind of books she would like. i have so far found out that school is "boring, mostly" and that she is good at math, not so good at vocabulary!

she is nine. somebody with experience here, help me pick out a good gift!!!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

what's up with those ba(l)d boys

okay, so you've already heard my gush over tom collechio from top chef. So I'll keep it down when i talk about ami james and miami ink. i like miami ink more than i care to admit. i never set time aside to watch it, but whenever i am channel flipping, i seem to end up watching good ole ami, and yoji, and chris and darren and nunez and kat von d...yep, i know em all by name. i am pretty sure miami ink is not a show that my pastor would recommend spending time on, but i "justify" it because of the art. i mean, cmon, these people are talented! forget that it's alot of skulls and motorcycles and other questionable subject matter that often gets "illustrated", but sometimes it's meaningful stuff like a poem or roses or a deceased persons picture. ami and the guys always listen thoughtfully as the customers talk about their pain. sometimes they even give a testimonial about their OWN personal pain when we need a break from seeing the needle and all that blood. actually, it's pretty DEEP for a tattoo show :)

which gets me to the point of this post, which is that i think i want to buy an ami james cell phone. it's black and it has a very pretty tattooish looking dragon on it.

would that be bad?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

nativity flick

just got back from seeing The Nativity Story.

wow. go see it.

maybe i am just getting mushy in my old age, but i went in with limited expectations because the reviews were not that good. and when the angels of the Lord started showing up, it was kind of cheesy. or maybe not, because i don't know really what that's like, to be truthful! but the storyline was really well played, and the truth of the miraculous nature of the story shone the end, i had a strong urge to worship!

i looked over at my friend sher, who loves the Lord so much. she seemed "into" it too...when it was over, i told her i really wanted to worship (at a movie!!!!!) and she said...."yes, i had my hand raised a little."

:) I would recommend going to see it.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

come for supper :)

oh no.

every time i go christmas shopping, i buy stuff for myself. this morning it was an innocent trip to younkers ... i ended up with a whole new set of peacock blue fiestaware!!! i held back, and only bought a service for four, but i could have bought enough to feed Sioux Falls. wheeeeeeee. it's so pretty.

see, the thing is, i love color. i cannot for the life of me figure out why i bought a set of WHITE fiestaware (and a matching service for 4 of lite yellow) back when i got out of college a long long time ago. but over the years, i have supplemented the collection with turquoise bowls, green soup mugs and orange mini bowls. still, mostly i ate on white plates.

not anymore! i am not sure that blue is actually a great color for putting food onto, but my turkey sandwich just looked really pretty!

okay, back to christmas shopping for somebody besides me.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

christmas music

hey, here's a free song to go download! one of my very very very favorites...

thanks aaron!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

one small step

how come a 45 minute lunch feels more like a lifetime of change?

probably cause i felt my heart jump out of my body, i am officially a "mentor" after lunch today. i have been thinking about volunteering for about 2 years, esp. since i started doing projects for the united way. about a month ago, finally something in me said "do it now" (hmmmm, who would THAT be?)

so today i met J. she is 9 and goes to 4th grade. she is blonde and blue eyed and had an abercrombie fitch tshirt on with a sparkly butterfly pin. as we sat down to eat, she noticed it kind of "matched" my butterfly ring.

and there you have it. one heart, ready to fall hook, line and sinker. the thing is, i'm not a natural for this mentor stuff. i am the kind of person who gravitates towards cats, and maybe gerbils. kids? no way...too scary. i did not even babysit when i was younger! i don't do kids.

luckily, the Lord KNOWS this, and gave me one who reminds me alot of one i know that lives over in minnesota ;)) the counselor at the school says she will be "easy".

good thing for me, i'm a beginner.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

try this at home!

tip for the day: if you don't make some of this, you are just silly!

i found this recipe on the internet, and was reminded of summer nights at the Firehouse in Rapid City, with good friends and really good food and beer! you can use any kind of beer for this recipe, i don't keep beer on hand, so i bought Leinekugel wheat beer and it was great. next time, i'll go with something darker...

Crazy Easy Beer Bread

3 cups self-rising flour (buy it, you'll use it)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 12-ounce bottle of beer
(i also threw in 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese for the heck of it!)

Mix batter well, until sticky and blended. Grease a loaf pan (i used 3 minis, so i could give 2 away) and bake for one hour at 375 degrees (less time for smaller pans)

oh, i also drizzled a couple tablespoons of melted butter on top before i baked it, yum.

this will impress and dazzle your family and friends, guaranteed.
happy day!

Monday, December 04, 2006


look what i have nesting in the bushes in front of my house, catching some rays!

oh, i am starting to love him ;)
so far tho, he shows no interest in coming indoors. he's a free-spirited bad boy, i always seem to fall for those!!

btw, HIS name is loco, no matter what his other owners call him!

my new car

thanks to all who gave advice about getting a replacement for ernie.

after some prayerful thought, here's what i ended up purchasing. not sure yet how it will work, but it contains JET FUEL, so ernie should be quite powerful!

and, it cost $6.47, no monthly payment attached :)
now, i need to go get some febreze, so his insides match his super-powered motor!!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

good clean fun

so, today in my quest for the simple life, i had to go buy yet some more stuff.

ha. not really, this morning i enjoyed a nice round of "basement shopping". a few weeks ago when i cleaned out my cupboard, i found a yogurt maker tucked way at the back. i've been carrying this thing around for at least a decade, and i don't remember EVER using it! i guess that is because i discovered dannon, or maybe it is because i thought i was too cool to make yogurt (ps, we made this stuff at home in the 70s, in a little orange unit with individual glass jars - WAY sexier than this thing).

but forget about looks, this bad boy is cool too (no, i have no name for him yet)! all you do is scald some milk, and add a little "live" yogurt (try not to think about why it's alive) and then cook it in the handy dandy yogurt pot for a few hours. wha la, i got 4 nice cups of smooth creamy yogurt. and with the addition of a spoonful of homemade cherry jam, i should be looking at a nice breakfast treat in the morning!

total cost : $2.14 (not counting the extra milk i still have in the fridge). okay, so it's not really less expensive, but I MADE IT and therefore it is better! i think i might just go make some more ...