How Much Wood Would a Wood Chuck Chuck

… the moment you have to stop and think about the difference between wood and would… I don’t think I’ve ever bothered to write that out before…

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My Grandpa has a wood fireplace.

He ordered an entire semi-truck full of wood for said wood fireplace.

He is well into his 80’s. He used to tell people he was 9-squared, but he’s too old for that now. He’s also too old to stack an entire truckload of firewood, although most of the family knows he would if we’d let him. Mostly, if his kids would let him… his grandkids try not to let him, but he’s not one to take “no” too easily, especially from a grandkid.

Which would be why he has a chainsaw in his hands in this picture.

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Sorry this picture is blurry (as usual). This time I have an excuse. I took it while dodging flying logs as they soared through the window.

Over a series of days, some of the kids and grandkids got together to help cut and stack Grandpa’s wood. It brought back nostalgic memories of stacking wood as a kid.

We used to be the ones sitting just inside this window, on stacks and stacks of wood, so that we could hand it down to the ones stacking it below (find that same window on the first picture for perspective, and realize that the first picture is about 3 feet from the ground). I remember complaining loudly about all the WORK the kids had to do, but secretly enjoying being with my cousins. What I DON’T remember is any of the work… I also remember Grandpa’s old “CAT” that he’d occasionally let us ride after the wood was all done. Until Jake got stung by a bee one year (he’s allergic. He’s also the kid who helped us all learn not to stick your tongue on Grandpa’s metal screen door, but that’s another story).

The grownups always made the stacks we sat on. I climbed up there this time and wondered how on earth we didn’t kill ourselves. I’m sure our parents made it safe, I don’t remember being scared at all as a kid, but as a grownup, knowing full well how it was stacked… yeah, I didn’t last long up there.

That and the fact that as the only female helping stack that day, my brother told me I was too delicate to be there because he was afraid of tossing in the logs and hurting me. He had no qualms about tossing logs in on and hurting the other brother. I should feel loved.

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Instead, I stacked after the piles were thrown down. And when the pile got too tall, I brought armloads into the garage and stacked them myself.

We also had a little help from this young helper. He was pretty cute. There was one time I had a little log in my hands and I called him over and told him it was too heavy for me to carry and I needed him to help… Then about 5 minutes later, he brings ME one over and makes ME carry it. It was “too evy, Aunt-Keeaa, too evy!” Well played little man, well played.

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The rest of the time, he was “helping” Grandma pick chokecherries by distracting her every few seconds to push him on the swings.

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On the way home, we saw a red sun! I wish phones could capture the amazing grandeur of the sky, but they don’t seem to do it justice. I just thought it was fitting to see a fire-sky after stacking fire-wood.

White Coat

My dear friend Tammy is on her way to becoming a pharmacist. She invited me to her White Coat Ceremony, which is kind of a big deal, I guess. I don’t know much about the program, and a whole lot of the things they were saying was over my head, but I was glad I could be there for a friend. I’m also glad her sister was there and knew more about what was being said. She made great company.

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It must be a big deal. There are centerpieces made of prescriptions!

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and compounding bowls. I actually really like the centerpiece above. Simple, yet specific.

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There were a few speakers. Some invited the students to join the pharmacy fraternity or something like that. She used a lot of acronyms that were foreign to me. Another one spoke about becoming Alumni. Except he kept saying “Alumn,”  and it drove me NUTS! For the record, Alumn isn’t a word. Alum is, but it’s a chemical compound used to keep homemade pickles crisp (utterly unnecessary, if I do say so myself. At least in homemade pickles. And don’t even get me started on store-bought pickles. I dare you to look up what those ingredients really are). But I digress. I’m pretty sure that the speaker went with a grammatically incorrect (even if it is beginning to appear more rampantly) word so he didn’t have to worry about being politically correct (Alumni is gender specific. As is alumnus, alumnae and alumna. But I doubt anyone knows that. I’ve never deemed myself an alumna, but I have found camaraderie in the term “alumni”).

As part of the ceremony, the future pharmacists read a code of ethics.

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And then one at a time, they get their white lab coat.

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Congratulations Tammy!

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After the ceremony, we went out for ice cream. I’ve grown really close to these two, and count them pretty much as family. They are 8 years apart, and I am right in the middle of them. Tammy’s older than me, Chrissy’s younger than me. They’re great examples of what sisters should be and what friends should be.

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Girl’s Night with my Girl

My daughter, like all other children (and I’m starting to think adults, too), has been begging me to take her to Frozen. I kept postponing it, hoping it’d eventually end up in the cheap theater (I’m smelling greedy skunk…), but after prolonging so far and “every other kid in school” has seen it, I finally caved. It had been a really stressful week, and I was looking forward to spending money (retail therapy) for experiences (the real therapy). So we started off with a cupcake from the locally-acclaimed cupcake shop.
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it’s funny but when you don’t eat many processed foods, even cupcakes become gaggy-sweet. Suddenly my own cooking tastes so much better.

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Then we added even more junkfood and bought the way-overpriced processed snack (still smelling greedy skunk… I wonder where it’s coming from…)

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Frozen was pretty cute. I mean, I don’t get why EVERYONE and EVERYONE’s EVERYONE must sing all the songs and rave and have 10,000 things to say about it, because it’s just a movie, with a movie’s standards; but it was cute. I’d watch it again.

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We went to a fire-themed restaurant for dinner. Really REALLY good food! I had the owner’s favorite dish, and he’s got good taste. We ended up running into my brother-in-law at the restaurant (small world), but he had a booth in the bar-section and we were interested in more of the family-friendly atmosphere, so we didn’t sit with them. It was kind of funny to run into them, though.

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These crayons fascinate me. I’d love to find some research on the history of crayons and why they are round and not triangles. I also wonder if triangles are a better shape? Lastly, I’d like to find a yellow animal that actually starts with Y. Those darn alliterations get you every time…And there’s gotta be a less-obvious blue B-animal.

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They were talking about the Olympics at school (I’m glad. Americans have very little Olympic pride anymore. I think that spells trouble. You should have heard my Canadian and Finnish friends! I’d love to sit next to them some time this week), and my daughter came home excited to watch the Opening Ceremony. It was LONG… but she watched it. She was pretty in love with all the Russian Ballet moves.

Language is Dead

Personal pet peeve: “New Years.”

Absolutely drives me nuts.

it is either New Year’s (followed by Day, or Eve), or New Year.

I only get one year at a time, not many.

And if you and I are sharing the same year, it’s still just one year.

New Year.

Not New Years.

Facebook about killed me this NEW YEAR.

Never look to Facebook for guidance in grammar. It just doesn’t happen.

Day 27: Negatives

Let me tell you about my night. My husband hit a deer. At midnight. I think my challenge is teaching me hard-core today. The interesting thing is, instead of getting frustrated, my thoughts sound like this:

Thank heavens that the “commuter” car needed repaired, or he would have taken it and this would have been much worse.

We just checked on our insurance. That’s interesting.

Ranger wanted new lights anyway.

I’m so glad he was in enough control to not swerve to avoid the deer. Swerving creates so many more problems. I’m grateful he had his wits about him.

We’re so lucky the airbags didn’t go off.

At least I didn’t buy the new headlights for Christmas, yet.

Any more to the front and it would have been serious damage. Any more to the side and it would have caused way more problems.

It’s nice to have good insurance.

Thank heavens deer collisions count as incidents and not accidents, so our rates wont increase.

Naturally, I’m grateful he’s up and walking around. Probably a little stiff today, and his nerves are probably on edge, and I understand that. But I’m so glad he’s not unconscious on a road somewhere.  And let’s not even get into anything worse.

OuchAt first, Ranger was pretty frustrated and “why did this have to happen,” and I can see his point of view extremely well. I’m selfishly glad it was him and not me. It’s his “baby” as far as cars go. But so much has come up the past 48 hrs that could have come up any other time, so if he was really supposed to avoid the deer, he would have.  Maybe it was to teach me about being grateful for the negatives. Who really knows. But I can say that if we were supposed to hit a deer, this was probably the best possible way to do it.

That is all finding the silver lining. That was a previous challenge. But being downright grateful for the negatives like today’s challenge is ironically in place for (Yes, I mean situationally ironic; or cosmically ironic, you choose…  Grammar Nazi still resides in my head)? It is a bit tougher but still quite doable.

dareInterestingly enough, after working on gratitude and charity all month, it’s pretty easy to be grateful for the negatives. Here’s why: When you’re more focused on gratitude, you’re willing to look past yourself. You’re willing to trust that the higher power knows what he’s doing, that there is a force stronger than yourself that has watched over every step you’ve taken and won’t set you up for a fall that you can’t rise higher from. When you’ve spent all month working on gratitude, it’s even possible to see potential outcomes. This may take care of some problem in the vehicle that we were currently unaware of, or might have saved us from some bigger woe. Who knows. I’m not far enough away from the life event to see anything in focus, but I can see that this was not just some fluke in life. There are blessings I can’t see yet.

And then there’s the other vehicle. Finding out that it needed to stay home for repairs was a pretty big bummer. But look what a blessing it is now with a little more perspective. It had a lower profile and a curvier front end. It wasn’t as highly insured. It has less-responsive breaks. The list is pretty intense.

Needless to say, instead of teaching gratitude, today, life taught me.

Day 12: Anyway

Once when I was a teenager, I learned a concept that stood out to me. I brought it home to my family, and we realized how much a part of our life the concept is. We always called it the Anyway Principle.

If you’re going to make dinner anyway, why not make extra and give it to the family of a sick mother?

If you’re going to go to an activity anyway, why not fill the empty seats in the car with someone who needs a ride?

If you’re at your desk anyway, why not write a “just thinking of you” note to someone on your mind?

When I googled the Anyway principle, it came to my attention that there is more than one “Anyway Principle,” and that my version is all but obsolete. The other principle, which is more of an “Anyway Challenge,” discusses a few paradoxical commandments, written by Kent M. Keith.

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Although at first the principles seemed so different to me, I thought about it, did some research, and studied a bit of the grammar that I love. Whether something is negative or not, like in the paradoxical commandments, it doesn’t change the word (from what I can tell, the direction you’re looking – positive or negative – is the only difference between the paradoxical commandments and the anyway principle I knew: one states the opposition to the plan, while the other focuses on the proactive side of the plan. It doesn’t change the use of the word. Both mean “regardless,” “in any  case,” or “nevertheless”). If you are going to do something anyway, do it. Don’t let something stand in your way. Do something good no matter what opposition you face. If you’re going to reach out, who cares who tries to stop you! Especially if the person trying to stop you is yourself. Do it anyway.

But to me, grammar aside, there is still a difference I can’t ignore. One is active, the other is proactive. One is looking back and saying “I will move forward, anyway.” The other says, “I will move forward anyway, so what’s one more step.” One looks back and sees all the reasons not to do something. The other ignores all the reasons not to, and just looks at what they can do, and how much further they can go. If you are doing something anyway, is there someone you can bring along with you or something you can do while you’re out? If you’re cooking dinner anyway, can you make extra? 

The difference in the word "anyway"
The difference in the word “anyway”

I guess it’s the anyway principle inside of the anyway principle. You can choose to follow Kent M. Keith’s anyway principle (it’s still forward movement, so it counts. And some days, that might be all you can handle. Smile anyway…), but if you’re going to do it anyway…

Day 2: Blessed

Congratulations on making it to day 2! Wasn’t yesterday so hard? Today, Instead of writing one word, we’re going to make it into a sentence. Write 1 sentence of gratitude beginning with “I am blessed because.” The beginning of this sentence is very important. “I am blessed” has a very different feel than “I am thankful for.”

Lets have a little grammar-geek talk here. We’re dealing with subjects and objects. Subjects are the persons, places, things, or ideas that are DOING the action:

 I am, you did, it was, etc.

Objects are the persons, places, things or ideas that are RECEIVING the action:

to him, for her, from there, 

As natural human beings, we tend to look at everything from the subject perspective. We put ourselves in the drivers chair. I am, I had, I made, etc. And that makes sense, It’s a rather healthy place to be… Most of the time. But it’s also exhausting, pressure-laden, and self-centered; the opposite of what we want to gain from this challenge. That is the main difference in

I am thankful for…

(We’re in the driver’s seat. We’re creating the action. We’re thinking of Ourselves and what we are doing), and

I am blessed because…

(We are receiving the action here. We are thinking about some outside force acting upon ourselves.It’s passive. It’s a way for us to step out of the driver’s seat and let someone else lead).

Today, lets take a break from blazing our trail, and just let our blessings happen to us. Oh, and write them down, of course.

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First

I am just writing a quick post to test out the new duds. I have so many ideas running through my head I’m so excited to get this blog going! I want to give a big shout-out to Jessica at ElevenSixty for helping me get this started. She has been phenomenal! I have admired her for a very long time before now, and I’m honored for her help in this.

Yay! (or, for my grammar-conscious friends… “Yea!”)