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Live Richly, Live Free. Embrace All The Blessings From Our Creator and Marvel in His Creation.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

mohawk grenades, tough chicks and bible camp

Rare footage of my husband and his little bro...

She wasn't all that thrilled about the goodbye kiss when we took her out for breakfast...

leaving for camp...

our "romantic" target practice evening (just ask Bueford)

Parents night at camp - a new friend

floating the river yesterday

There are few things as delicious as a chocolate cherry or chocolate huckleberry smoothie. Mmmm....Start with a load of frozen pitted cherries or hucks. Strawberries or raspberries would be good too. That should be the bulk of your blender. Add to that some juice or milk (just enough to blend it). A scoop of ice cream, cream or yogurt. Some Saigon cinnamon, real vanilla, almond. A little sweetener and a load of cocoa powder. Oh yum!! Healthy yet dreamy.....

Here are some highlights from my week thus far :
1. I got my BUTT KICKED by a 63 year old lady. Well swimming that is. Really, i'm tellen ya that she is the most INCREDIBLE swimmer!! So graceful too.... Whatever distance we swim to, she's always there waaaayyy before i am. Then she does the BACK FLOAT to wait for me. I'm that much slower. Lucky for me, she's been giving me some pointers on improving my form. Possibly cuz she's tired of twiddling her thumbs waiting for me to get there - just kidding. She's a super sweet lady whose been swimming with me every week. We're doing an open water swim together next week. When i grow up i wanna be as buff as she is....
2. I floated the river with a few of my kids yesterday. It was fun. Moonbeam decided she wanted "out" about half way there. After that it became interesting - lol.
3. Today is our next "Extreme Chicks Hike". We're hiking up a mountain together and also stopping by a lake. So far i know of 14 chicks coming. Should be fun!!
4. Sock Fashion Expert went off to Bible Camp this week. We all miss her, but i'm afraid the feeling isn't mutual. She's having the time of her life. We attended "parents night" last night and she didn't seem the least bit home sick.
5. The boys threw "Mr. T. Grenades" at each other. Check out their one day "do's".
6. Moonbeam succeeded in stopping this post temporarily as i caught her playing in the toilet with her new clothes on!! The other day when she was wearing a new outfit she snuck off to a dirty mud puddle!! Little Stinker anyway!!
7. Wednesday i swam a simulated distance to my open water swim - approximately 1.76 miles - whew!!
8. In an attempt to do something "romantic" with my husband that he likes to do, he took me target shooting along with the boys. Long story. He was super sweet earlier in the week tho when we went out for breakfast and had a treat along a babbling brook in the forest.
9. We all went up a mountain looking for hucks, but it was allot of work. Its a little too early in the season up here and most of them were green. Thanks to all the men's hard work, we did manage a gallon and a half of so.
Okay, well you get the picture!! Its been a pretty busy week. I hope you're enjoying the summer just as much (or more) than i am!! Tell me what you've been up to - i'd love to hear your comment.......
Ps 55:22 Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Working Mom Blues and The Wolfish Hurrah

Just this morning, Art Dog and Super Catman happily wandered off into the forest. Just as they reached a place where the berries grow thick, they spotted a doe loitering around. Before even one ripe, juicy berry could be picked, a wolf emerged! Art Dog began loading his gun wanting to send off some warning shots. As the wolf began to disappear, they saw what looked to be another one slinking away! Now alarmed, Art Dog shot off several warning rounds into the air. Wolves, gone, the boys decided to abort their berry mission and return home.
Boys being boys, they didn't wait long to investigate the spot. Little did I know, while I slept, rather peacefully I might add, that it was due to the unusual quiet. Unbeknowns to me, my boys had headed back out to investigate a wolf kill! They would later report that the wolves had been feasting upon young blood. A poor baby fawn, found its way into those jaws of death today. All that remained was some hind quarters, which, the boys were confident, they would return for. I told the boys not to go back out there again. Super Catman protested "but it was a good experience for me mom". I would hear none of it. "Can we go up to our fort?" asked Art Dog sweetly. "Not if you accidentally find yourself near a wolf kill" I responded reading him like a book. Geesh!! Kids!!
Speaking of Wolfish encounters, the boys weren't the only ones to run into wolfish appetites today. Unfortunately a Terrible, Wolfish, Cunning and Manipulative character lurked nearby, stalking me! It was none other than Miss Belly Fat herself! I will allow you the opportunity to GASP!! Yes, she has preformed her last hurrah against me. Here I was, innocently, I might add working a graveyard shift. I'd eaten a moderate lunch. Planned a healthy breakfast. I was excited that two days in a row the scale has been reading "127.6". That's two pounds from my goal weight, and a number not observed since college! I guess she would want to defeat me so close to my goal. I should have seen her coming. She waited till after a week long white sugar fast. On the day the fast was over (yesterday), she suggested I enjoy a candy bar. Though I almost NEVER eat them anymore, I obliged. "What could one candy bar hurt after a week of no sugar?" Well, after that, it all went down hill. I had the false confidence that I was getting off okay. I'd made it through a long shift without doing much damage. I was so so tired. The change of shift girls remarked about how tired I looked.... "Maybe you'd better stop and get yourself something to pick at on the way home" they exclaimed with genuine concern. Soon they were all agreeing. Suddenly I could see my sleepy self running into guard rails, flipping the truck. Next it was oncoming traffic. After that I was hitting heffalumps and woozles. Miss Belly Fat gravely informed me that I MUST stop for a cinnamon roll on the way home. My very life depended on it. Gosh this was a new one. She's never pulled anything this dramatic before..... Of course I bought it hook, line and sinker. Sure enough, a beautiful, thin waitress pulled out a cinnamon roll the size of a salad plate and was all too happy to warm it up for me. Perhaps she was thinking to herself "you'll never be as thin as I am eating this garbage", but she kept it to herself. Here I was, "saving my life" by "picking at" the cinnamon roll. I considered throwing the whole mess out the window, but Miss Belly Fat wouldn't let me do it. Then I resolved to only eat half. After all, I could secretly share it later with my husband. Before I knew it, not much was left and then I knew what was left wouldn't be at all appreciated by anybody so I ate that too. I couldn't believe I'd eaten the whole thing! Dismally, I arrived home with the empty container which I duly hid in an obscure corner of the basement. I figured I would later dispose of the evidence without anybody attaining knowledge of my crime. I felt even lower when I got up stairs and my husband had hash browns and eggs all ready for me. Add to that my daughter had made pastries from scratch. Oh she really pulled one over on me. Yes, it was her last wolfish hurrah. She's gonna be sorry she ever jaded me. Just to get back at her, I swam the perimeter of Vinal today and ate a salad. She is afraid, very afraid. Can you see her cowering? Yes, today two wolfish appetites emerged on the scene. May their presence be banished from our members.

Working Mom Blues - Tranquil, Tropical Traits

Today, before my stretch of weekend shifts, I met Blue Alice for a lovely swim at a lake near her home base. It was a lot of fun and I was glad to do something so unwinding before winding myself up all over again..... The week started out at a modestly chaotic pace and ended with a hectic one to boot. Thank goodness for my little oasis in there. Here's a few pics from a nice family day at the lake not all that long ago too. Seeing pics like this remind me that my busyness is only short lived and I will soon, again, be in the company of children and water.....
Silver Belle and I also managed to make it to the beach together this past week. Her boys and mine had a grand ol' time playing on a floating log and all across the lakes outer edges and back again. The eldest boy headed out with a fly fishing rod and tube. It was a fun day until her dog started barking at a stout looking woman hulking along the shore. She seemed rather pleasant and Silverbelle was inclined to invite her to dinner. Of course I always bulk at such things and in the end she let the woman escape to where ever she'd come from. Silver Belle is always taking in stray people and animals. Its been such a long time since I've spent any time at all with her. It was good for the boys to get a good play time in.
Archer is off at work these days. He recently started working as part of a local house building crew. He's pleased to gain some new found skills while he continues to contemplate college options. Sock Fashion Expert is getting ready for a week of Bible Camp. The boys continue their care free life in the outdoors. Yesterday Art Dog brought home some wild berries from his scouting expedition. He was all too happy SFE agreed to make turn overs with them. Super Catman recently got his "fang" pulled, which was actually an extra tooth. Strangely, he preferred the unusual fang like tooth to a true front adult tooth. Now he carries it around proudly to show off to anyone who cares to observe it. Moonbeam continues to be a real "terrific two". She is forever busy, bossy, and determined. Such is my world at home. Here's to wishing your weekend tranquil and tropical......

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cheery Cherry Cherubs - An Orchard Adventure

3One Can always Count on Art Dog to Make Everything Humorous..... Super Catman is not far behind......
Neither is "Twinkle Winkle"!

Mist and Sock Fashion Expert Sorting...

Tonnie and Elasta Woman Sort Cherries.....

How Generous Georgia hauls her cherries around

Generous Georgia's Dog Rudy - The kids tried putting flip flops on him.........


"Twinkle Winkle"

The kids pretending to shoot at a coyote....

Archer was up on high ladders a lot

Tonnie Elasta Woman's Tuckered Kids.....

Back from a FUN but Exhausting 2 days of laboring in the cherry orchard. After working 2-12 hour night shifts, we got groceries and then had to get home to begin packing. The next morning we were up before dawn to embark on the big adventure. Soon I'd picked up Mist, met up with Tonnie and Elasta Woman and, along with a whole pack of kids, we headed for the low country.
Soon we were in farm land and a paradise of cherry trees beckoned to us with their bright, cheery fruits and foliage flapping in the stormy breeze. Generous Georgia had built a beautiful structure to house her fruity endeavors including a certified commercial kitchen, pitter area, bathroom with shower and sorting area. Wow - this was getting to be high tech!
We were all eager to get to work and soon we were up on ladders, climbing trees and reaching high to pick the luscious fruit. Besides stuffing our buckets, we stuffed our mouths happily. Before we knew it, the day was over and we were sorting cherries and running them through the giant mechanical pitter. After that, we harvested strawberries and raspberries for her. She has a huge, beautiful property with luscious soil. Besides an orchard and large garden area, she owns alfalfa fields, mazes of forest property with groomed trails and one or more lakes over run with pan fish. Wild flowers bloom every where. Its almost as if she lives in a modern day Garden of Eden.
Not only is her place home to all manner of plant life, but animals flock there for refuge. Does with even triplets wandered in the alfalfa fields. Coyotes could visibly be seen running through the fields. Archer chased one away that was nipping at the heels of a fawn. I tried to keep the kids close as they saw coyotes in broad day light several times. Bear and Elk also inhabit her forests.
I never sleep so good camping as i do when i'm there. Probably because i'm exhausted. Of course after harvesting, I have to head down to the lake for a swim. After that getting the kids cleaned up and bedding ready, dinner too. Oh and trying to get the sticky bug deterrent out of my hair is another big job. I seem to always some how get my hair full of it. By the time evening arrives, we're all ready to sleep.
The next day, we started harvesting at 4:45 am and didn't finish processing till some time around 5 or 6 pm. The kids had done admirably and amazingly. They worked hard, the little ones played hard. The hot sun had caused them to become a bit droopy and excessive cherry consumption made them gassy. Flatulent humor began to arise from the exhausted crowd. Elasta Woman amazed us all with her ability to pick almost half as much as our families 4 hard workers. Our group had harvested about 1/3 of her orchard in that time. Our family took home 158 lbs of organic cherries, most of which were pitted, bagged and ready for the freezer. I felt proud of my kids, grateful for a healthy supply of winter fruit, and was ready for some R and R at home......

Last Years Cherry Orchard Links : Including more pics, stories

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Working Mom Blues and The Sleep Deprived Philosopher

Sleep was what i was supposed to be doing, but i never seem to have gotten around to it.... On the way home from work I couldn't help but put up some fliers for our next "Extreme Chicks Hike". After that, I did manage to get home and get some sleep but it was short lived. I smelled something cooking and decided to get up and investigate. Turns out our Archer had gotten desperate and made a big pan of rice. They were all eating it with milk and sugar. Ugh! That didn't seem all that appealing. Soon I was cooking something for myself. After that I was messing around with the baby. Then I didn't want to go back to bed because the eldest three were getting ready to take off on their next adventure. I didn't want to miss my last opportunity to see them for the day. Soon i was re-connecting with my husband and then I was taking Super Catman for a quick dunk in the lake. After that I was getting ready to go. Sleep just didn't fit in anywhere to that equation, though i did harbor admirable intentions.
Working as an Emergency Room RN and Hospital Supervisor, you have a small advantage in seeing many many stages of life. The longer i live, the more i see it as such a precious gift. Not even an hour can be squandered. That hour can make all the difference between a regret and a lasting good memory. Not to say we should be afraid of whats to come, that would be a waste too. No, we have to enjoy each precious moment we're here together with those we care about. We need to savor it as if it is a personal gift from our Creator, because, after all, it is. There is no "right" to celebrate tomorrow with our family. Tomorrow comes and children are grown. Diseases take their toll. Lovers part into eternity as death temporarily triumphs over lifetime unions. In all these things, we have little reign. What we do have is the scant whisper of today with which to embrace. Then its gone...... Forever gone. May we fully appreciate and savor what we have today. Somebody stop to honor our Creator with a hearty "Thank You".
In saying all that, i suppose my lack of sleep and stormy emotions can be justified with knowing that i lived yesterday to its fullest potential...... There is always sleep tomorrow.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bananna Worms, Drunken Vollies and Chasing Badgers

Our Chicks River Float/Burgers/Volley Ball Day
Pictured - Daisy and Junes "Secret Island"

The Men have been really "bringen' home the bacon" or rather fish this week...

Our Romantic Morning Kayak Date.....

one other thing i wanted to add to that last post - "The Mr.", who i believe is 69 does 70 yes 70 push ups every morning!! Amazing!!

Now that i've gotten that off my chest, i have a whole conglomeration of other things to tell you about! i will try to limit myself so as not to BORE you too much ;0)
This morning, my husband and I went out in a double kayak on the river together. I asked him to do that with me because we hadn't been out on a date in a while and i thought that would be more fun. Turns out IT WAS :-) We also went on a walk a few days ago and saw a HUGE badger running down the road. We had fun running after it together. It finally jumped into a hole and eyed us warily. I wish I'd have had a camera along.
Yesterday, The Sock Fashion Expert and I met some friends out on the river and we floated a new section i'd never been on before. The girls showed us a secret island and we lounged around on it and visited. Then we floated to the tavern and converged on some burgers and fries. After that we played volleyball. It was a lot of fun. I haven't figured out names for these friends yet, but in tradition of my blog, i will call them "Daisy" and "June" until they come up with better blogland ones :-) Daisy is a spunky, fun loving woman. June, her sister is fun too. She met a special male friend who has been corresponding with her daily via phone and Internet. We are all excited because he is coming to visit next month. Romance is in the air!! Anyway, these girls are a lot of fun to be with and it was a hilarious day!
We had been discussing "gossip" and laughing about some of the doozies that locals had come up with about ourselves earlier that day. The tavern/mercantile has a beautiful yard along the river with a boat landing where we had parked our canoe and boat. We sat at a picnic table over looking the river to eat. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and we were getting warmed up from a quick dunk in before we'd arrived there (another funny story all together). So anyway, there is a volley ball and net out there and we decided to toss it around a little. Well none of us are all that good and it became apparent real quick. Soon a crowd on the deck began gathering. Somebody made the crack that a new rumor would be circulating about us being "too drunk to play volleyball". All we'd ordered was soda and juice, but our playing was so bad that we may as well have been intoxicated. The idea of that rumor was so funny we couldn't stop laughing. Sock Fashion Expert feigned a drunken stagger and fell on the ground laughing. Soon we were all doubled over. Some one served the ball and it went backward rather than over the net.... Our volleyball skills leave a lot to be desired, but we got a lot of laughs out of the ordeal. Finally the crowd got bored and went back inside. I hope we didn't offend anybody.
Its been a wonderful week, full of water days and sunshine, friends and family, kids and fresh air. Each time the door opens, Moonbeam bolts for it! The other day, she tried to get a banana open. In the process, she mangled it up. When she finally gave it to her dad to open, a slimy, brown part flopped out. She jumped back and ran to her brother for protection. Now she is afraid of bananas - LOL!! Hope this post finds you enjoying our beautiful July weekend!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Today and Yesterday in the Yaak....

"The Mrs." Shows me the original homestead in which she came to Yaak still in her 20's now used as a guest cabin... Below is the home they now live in. Youngest daughter is pictured. More than thirty years ago, her children stood on this step.

The Sock Fashion Expert sits out on the porch and plays for us. It was a hot, windy afternoon.

This Wood Cook Stove always inspires me when I come to visit.....

A Cheery Front Room.........

I wish i were this organized!!

OVER THIRTY YEARS AGO, a young couple moved to the untamed land here and settled. Back then land could be bought readily, sometimes for the price of taxes owed. A young woman in her 20's, with two small children came with her husband to this unsettled land. She lived without any modern conveniences and together, they carved out the land. This family grew, and as they did, lived out many adventures together. Yaak was a mecca for outlaws, hippies, and recluse living. This Fiery Baptist couple was the exception, wanting to bring an element of Christianity to Gods Country.......
Still without a well more than thirty years later, "The Mrs" tells me "I'd rather put our children through college with that money". To my knowledge all five of their children have attended Bob Jones University. The youngest is currently enrolled there, though on summer break. This exceptional family have harvested mushrooms and huckleberries to earn money to send their children to college.
He's milled timber. They've hunted and lived off the land. She has home schooled all her children as well. All the while, over the years, they have preserved their way of living simple and content. Though modest, "The Mrs." and her adult children are exceptional artists.
We had the great privilege of having lunch with them on Sunday. It was an enjoyable day and we visited for many hours. I loved hearing stories of their life in the Yaak. Seeing their home was such an incredible treat that I wanted to share the romance with all of you....

Friday, July 9, 2010

River Adventures with "Toada" and The Bovine Gang

Mission : To recover lost tackle boxes, fish pole and general "man stuff" from an unfortunate "canoe roll" the other day while the men and their friends floated a notorious section of river.
Though the men and their friends had a good time, they were sorry to lose the contents of the boat along with reconstituted lunches for all (which were the kind of lunches not needing reconstitution). They arrived home at approximately 1900 with company and consumed a hearty dinner. There was a substantial quantity of fish to be cleaned thereafter......
Recovery Team :
The Archer - supplies : wet suit, scuba gear, lunch, fishing supplies, water, many back up supplies too numerous to mention all in secured water proof containers.

Art Dog - a similar list of supplies

Outdoor Mom - Magazine, lunch, chocolate cake, dry clothes, tanning supplies

Super Catman - Fishing Supplies, candy, a bowl of water, lunch, extra water

Our Recovery Team Embarked on the mission at hand with a fairly early start, namely noon. As I loaded into the kayak with Super Catman and began swiftly moving down a fast and unfamiliar section of river I began having second thoughts. I wondered if it was too late to hitch a ride back with my husband who was waving goodbye with all too big of a grin spread across his face. He happily jumped into his truck and I could have sworn he was fiendishly laughing to be rid of the lot of us for the day....... just kidding.
I didn't have much time to think about that. The river was taking our kayak and the boys, ahead of us in their canoe, were shouting orders to me. "Hard Right!!" "Veer Left", along with many hand signals was what I was becoming accustomed to. It reminded me of one of those river rafting movies where they go on faster class rapids. Of course there was nothing like that, but enough to keep me on my toes and one wrong move would put Super Catman and I in the icy cold depths along with the contents of our kayak. This motivated me to pay close attention to my instructors ahead.
Finally we reached the treacherous section of river which had sucked my husband and Art Dog into flipping. The boys got out and pulled the canoe onto the bank, we followed suit. Soon Archer had dawned scuba gear and was fighting the violent current to the spot where a large protruding branched had knocked Art Dog flat right before they'd flipped over. Thank God he wasn't knocked unconsciousness. It soon became apparent that nobody could investigate that spot well because of the rivers mighty force. Archer began scubaing down river and I tried to find a spot up river to cross. I thought maybe I could scour the bad side to see if anything was there. It was strong even in the shallow places and I barely made it across. Then there was a jungle of obstacles to get through. By the time I got to the spot, Archer had found the tackle boxes and the pole sitting neatly in a pile at the bottom of the river further down. Art Dog was especially relieved to recover his fishing and hunting licenses.
We spent the rest of the day leisurely fishing, tanning and eating our lunches along the nicer, slower stretches of river. I even caught a couple of fish, but my primary goal was to work on my tan - lol. Super Catman found a creepy toad which he promptly named "Toada" who joined us for the remainder of our trip. "Toada" refused to stay in the first class section of our kayak and mingled often with the working class much to my dismay. Once Toada landed on my feet. I screamed. This caused all boys involved initial concern, then possibly some eye rolling went on. After that Toada tried climbing up my thigh. That was rather disturbing as well. Finally, a loud, deep and squeaky sound was emitted from our kayak. Super Catman informed me the horrid sound had come from his pet toad. I believed him. Later he confessed to having farted. Toada narrowly escaped us at the end of our trip and returned to his care free river life.
We also crossed an expensive looking river tour fishing guide boat a few times. Two elderly gentleman and one woman all wearing fancy white clothing were fly fishing. The boat, fishing equipment, attire and countenance of of the people did not seem to fit in with our day. It was like "Anne of Green Gables" meets "The River Wild". Probably much to their displeasure our our motley band of characters passed by and fell behind them several times. The other oddity was cows, yes cows!! Here we were in the heart of Mountains, river and forest and here is this band of outlaw cows lounging along the side of the river. They may have been a gang of unsavory characters because they mooed obscenities at our wary crew as we passed on. Super Catman had brought a dollar store pumpkin carver along for personal protection. He was ready to draw at any time. Luckily for us, Toada was quite river smart or maybe street smart. He gave them a bulgy eye and the cow gang backed off.
It was fun filled day of high adventure and that night we emerged from the river bronzed and exhausted with prizes including the lost treasures, some extra found tackle and a mess of fish. After a big meal we were soon fast asleep......

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Escape to "Butt Crack"

"Butt Crack". That's the new word Moonbeam learned while I was gone all day at work yesterday.

It kind of sums up my day as well. Selah.

It was one of those days when, no matter how hard I tried, the end results seemed dismal. Of course, though work provides a never ending color spectrum of things I could write about, alas it is all confidential and sealed in secrecy. Just imagine a frazzled nurse returning home after more than 12 hours of a busy hospital emergency department.

After fighting tears and exhaustion, food, that old seductive foe had once again had his way with me. This was a real crime because just a couple of days ago I had spent a considerable amount of time constructing a scientific looking chart entitled "Swim Training Boot Camp" in which I was closely monitoring such things as exercise and edible fueling agents aka Food. I considered marking that space down as "F" but i think that would bother me as much as writing down what I actually consumed.

"Swim Training Boot Camp" is actually my plan of action as to how I am going to prepare for this year's 1.76 mile open water swim. It is about 4 1/2 weeks from now. I actually started getting ready for it a week or so ago when the weather turned warm. I began running a couple of miles and swimming .25 - .6 miles as part of a cross training exercise. It was fun and it made me feel a little bit like a spy or something. Here i was running down the road, sweating up a storm and then thoughts of the water would consume me. I'd detour down that familiar path to the lake and before I knew it I was stripping down to what propriety allowed to embark on a swim. It was pure bliss and a great combination of exercise. Then I'd do something crazy like canoeing across the lake and climbing the backside up through steep, thickly treed wood to another road home never knowing which route home i'd find myself on. Add to my "spy" exercise that "Blue Alice" had agreed to swim train with me weekly. She's a seasoned California swimmer who vacations up here in the summer. She signed up for the swim even before I did and I'm pretty sure she'll show me a thing or two. We're going to swim weekly together and today is our first meeting. I hope she doesn't find out how i've already compromised my "boot camp".

Now back to "Butt Crack". As I was saying, I was at multi level failure and i'm not sure even now that i've broken out of that mode yet, this morning. After my FAILURES with work and food, I had to go to the grocery store. We wouldn't be back in town for a week or more. My husband had balanced the check book and informed me of how much I could spend. The store had been taken over by mob style hustlers, namely some other franchise had bought it a few months back. Everything was changed around since I'd been in there. My brain, having been saturated to capacity and on auto pilot for the last couple of hours, refused to cooperate with me. The first thing I saw was this great deal on "sale potato chips". I spent about 10 minutes trying to decide which or how many bags to buy. After that it only got worse. There was a real deli with real deli meats next. That seemed exciting and I ordered some turkey. Crackers were next, then bacon. Soon the cart was loaded with things i've been wanting to buy for months. Then I noticed half the stuff on my list wasn't in the cart. I decided to add up my total. Each time I tried to hide in an aisle to do this, somebody came along and interrupted me. The produce aisle was last. A produce man, probably one of the hustlers, tried to con me into buying some expensive apples and tomatoes. In the end I put the apples back but kept the tomatoes. When I added up the total I was almost 1 1/2 times my grocery budget. The produce man eyed me suspiciously as I began dumping back produce out of bags into their respective sections. The bacon was next to be returned. Soon I was walking back down to the beginning aisles to try and lighten the financial load. It dawned on me that after spending 13 hours in an emergency department and 12 as the hospital supervisor I ought to be able to handle buying groceries and calculating a total within my budget, but some how this "common sense" escaped me. By the time my mass exodus of food was distributed around on wrong shelves and some poor shelf stocker was near hysteria, I had lightened the load enough to put in the rest of what was on the list. Eventually, after 13 hours at work and 2 or more hours in the grocery store, I proceeded with caution to the check out line. A young, red headed checker ditched my lane when he saw me coming and a kindly grandmother took over. After about 1/3 of the groceries had gone through the conveyor belt, I was over budget. I asked her what was wrong. She said I had to slide my special "member card" to get the real total. I emptied my purse pocket searching for it. Finally, it surfaced, though I was still 1/3 of the way over budget - ugh! I abandoned the chips I'd spent 10 minutes selecting along with some tuna. I knew I had to let the milk, eggs and toilet paper go through over budget or not.

On the way home, I dreaded calling my husband but I figured it'd be better get it over with. "Why are you still in town?!" he asked. I tried to explain to him about the the produce hustler and checker thugs at the store but he remained unimpressed. "Just come home" he said exasperated. Here again, I had failed on yet another plane.

I left home about 5:15 AM yesterday and I returned around 11:15 PM. The kids were all up and had many stories to tell. Moonbeam demanded to come in the shower with me. After slipping on some warm pajamas and trying Sock Fashion Experts delicious, fresh baked cherry turn over, the kids informed me of Moonbeam's new word. Once they said it, she, perched proudly on my lap, announced "Butt Crack" quite matter of factly in a rather proud sounding tone. Then she pointed to her butt crack. Other babies nearing 2 identify their body parts such as "hand" and "head". Mine says "Butt Crack". I had to smile. Maybe I'm breaking out of my multi level failures after all.