Sunday, January 31, 2010

Love Me Like a Dog

I'll admit it's a strange title, but it's such an amazing image that it has stayed with me all day. This morning our church had the youth group lead our early church worship service, even giving the sermon and scripture readings. They did the music as well. It was all handled very well, with reverence and some incredible thought and insight.

Nothing, however, touched me as much as a tall young teen named Geoff. In his portion of the sermon he described God's love in the scriptures, why we are all called to love one another, and how we are to accomplish this. One image he gave was so simple, it overwhelmed me. When he comes home, his dog stops whatever he's doing to come to greet him with such loving enthusiasm, he knows he's loved. There is no doubt. Nothing is more important in the dog's life than letting him know how wonderful it feels to welcome his master home.

I got such a clear picture in my mind of God welcoming me that way, but even happier than one of these furry bundles of friendship. When I've been wrapped up in myself for hours, busy with life in general, and sit down to a meal, turnubf my thoughts to Him for a blessing, I will now imagine him welcoming me back into his presence with that type of joy.

Thanks, Geoff.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Jeopardy Champ Rebecca Dixon Shines

Jeopardy is a fun part of our evenings. We enjoy watching it, and even when we travel, we have our DRV set to tape it, then watch the episodes in order when we return. Every once in awhile there's a contestant who just sparks something in me. It doesn't happen very often. Usually I'm more interested in the questions and answers. It's more likely that I'll route against a contestant who irritates me than to really applaud one who appeals to me on an emotional level.

Yesterday and today I kept thinking how nice it would be if this young graduate student would just move somewhere close to us. She sparkled. She got excited. She was fun and happy—and she was a music student... Okay, I guess that weighed the scales in her favor quite a bit. I found Rebecca Dixon to be so refreshing, I was actually getting nervous for her during final jeopardy. That hasn't happened since Ken Jennings.

I was glad they had the little interviews after the first commercial. I often fast forward through them (sorry, Alex) but I listened to hers twice and made notes, hoping that she'd win so I could write about her. Listeners all found out she was a graduate student from Vancouver, Washington. She's on a one year leave of absence from school to prepare for auditions for her Masters in Oboe Performance, what she got her Bachelors Degree in. What really interested me was that she did a year of study in historical musicology. Boy, would I love to talk with her about that.

Google is such a marvelous search engine. After she won today, with a two-day total of $53,002, I did a google search and found a little more information. In case she ever reads this, I want her to know... we do have a guest room if she wants to see Colorado. And it has nothing to do with the winnings. Just bring your oboe, Rebecca. I'll even show you how much fun a rank amateur can have with some guitars and an accordion. (Not at the same time.)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Healthy Pain

Praying tonight over dinner, I had to offer some serious thanks that what I'm feeling is just pain that will eventually diminish.

We noticed the absence of a familiar face around the neighborhood last night. Darrel is one of the first people who welcomed us to our new home. He's been living up here with his wife Betty longer than almost anyone else, and everyone knows and appreciates him. In fact, he's the one who bought and operates the road plow that keeps our local roads cleared after each snow fall.

He and one of his sons came out and cut down one of our trees that died before we moved in, because we asked if he knew someone we could hire when we returned to move in. It was a potential fire danger. We came back to find that they had cut it down and chopped it into firewood for us. He's just a perfect neighbor.

When John called his house last night to see what he was up to, Betty let us know that he's been in the hospital for the last two weeks, in intensive care, after surgery for pancreatic cancer. That pretty much coincides with my hibernation with the broken rib, so I haven't been walking around seeing and talking to people. We had no idea.

We drove into Fort Collins today to visit him, and it was a blow to see him looking frail and sad. He's always so full of life and mischief. He insisted there was nothing we could do for him or Betty, but we can pray. We can visit and hope. Also, seeing him made me stop and think. There are so many kinds of pain, and mine is the easy kind. It's just physical.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Recovering From a Broken Rib

If you do break a rib, the doctors will tell you there's not much they can do except give you pain medication and caution you to be careful, and remember to "breathe through the pain." If you don't remember to breathe deeply enough, the consequences can be pneumonia, which will certainly multiply your problems. When I broke my rib, I planned on three weeks of recovery. That's what they told me to expect.

It's been three weeks since the doctor told me that, and I'm finding that there is a slower recovery for people who get chest colds. Every time I would cough, it seems the rib would say, "Okay, let's start the three weeks over." I finally stopped coughing, and figure there might be light at the end of the tunnel. I haven't spent so much time sleeping since I was a teenager.

I'm also wondering if age is a factor in this long healing process. I know it's a factor in asking for more pain medication. I don't want to ask, and I'm down to a couple of little pills left, and that's just because I rationed them the last few days. I guess I should call tomorrow. I could use another few days. I'm thinking about it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Trading Audio Books is Just A Start

I've seen ads and buttons on other blogs. For the most part, I ignore them, thinking that if people need to earn a little money, that's probably one way to do it. It wouldn't be a way I would choose. However... today I spent an entire day so excited I hardly ate. I almost didn't remember to cook for my poor husband tonight. (He reminded me.) Yes, there is now a button on my blog for the PaperBackSwap website.

It's almost too easy. I have bookshelves. Lots of bookshelves. They overflow with books, audio books, CDs, and DVDs; most of them get dusted fairly regularly. The audio collection is pretty well documented on a spread sheet to keep me from re-buying one of these expensive beauties just because it's reissued with a new cover. That happens in the book world. I couldn't begin to list for you all my paperbacks and hardbacks, let alone our CDs and DVDs.

As my regular readers are aware, because of a seizure disorder my neurologist "prescribed" three hours a day of listening to audio books to reconnect synapses in the brain. They tend to get messed up in the electrical storm commonly referred to as grand mal events. Audio books really help, but they are not tax deductible, nor are they an insurance item. You can't get help paying for them from any State agency, and there are only so many sales and coupons available.

I went through just about everything my library had to offer within the first six months. I learned that non-fiction could really be riveting. [Try "Born on a Blue Day," by Daniel Tammet.] My husband and I scoured the area for used book stores and found that I'd have to part with two of my good ones in order to getone usually not so good one. The selection was pathetic, and the distance from home was too far. I had more audio books than the used book stores. (They usually only had about 30 to choose from, and I had often already read them.)

This morning I was involved in a discussion thread on Amazon, laughing at some sheer nonsense (which is another story entirely) when one of the ladies said, "You should try PBS." It took about four voices in the conversation before I found out what they meant: They are a trade group, a club if you will, that enables people like me to trade their books, audio books, CDs, and even DVDs with others around the country for the cost of postage—right from my home.

They're huge. People have been doing this for years, saving hundreds of dollars and probably laughing at me while I go to the bookstore. Well, maybe they're not laughing at me, because now they're waiting for my audio books to arrive in their homes, and I'm getting points to spend on their audio books (or regular books) and waiting for them to arrive at my home. This is the life.

If you refer someone, you'll get a point, good for a book. Audio books take two points. That seems fair to me. They cost twice as much. Of course, when you send an audio book to someone, you get two points, so you're not losing anything. If you click on my link, their logo on the left, I'll get the referral. If you don't want me to get a referral, just log in by yourself. I'm not trying to trick anybody. I'm just excited enough to put their logo on my blog site. It's the first time that's happened.

Time to go. I have another bookshelf to clear off.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Scott Brown Victory: Bravo, Massachusetts

I'm not from Massachusetts. I really wasn't following their senatorial race, although I was aware of it. I remember when John Kennedy held that seat. I have friends who live in that jurisdiction. (Hi, Kelley, Marty, Heather...) We never discussed it.

Last night I thought it was an important message to Congress when I heard the results. The people of Massachusetts didn't want the status quo. They wanted their voices to be heard. I thought I'd tune in and listen to a little of this Scott Brown's acceptance speech. I'm so glad I did. Except for the part where I thought he was about to auction off his daughters, I was beyond impressed. (If I had been his wife or one of his daughters, he would have found a sock in his mouth, no matter how funny he thought he was being, new senator or not.)

So what did this "Tea Party Republican" appreciate so much about his speech? I'm going to give you bullet points, quoted right from the speech of the things that made me really feel hopeful for the future.
  • The independent majority has delivered a great victory... While the honor is mine, this Senate seat belongs to no one person and no political party - and as I have said before, and you said loud and clear today, it is the people’s seat.
  • One thing is clear, voters do not want the trillion-dollar health care bill that is being forced on the American people. This bill is not being debated openly and fairly. It will raise taxes, hurt Medicare, destroy jobs, and run our nation deeper into debt. It is not in the interest of our state or country - we can do better.
  • I will work in the Senate to put government back on the side of people who create jobs, and the millions of people who need jobs - and as President John F. Kennedy taught us, that starts with an across the board tax cut for individuals and businesses that will create jobs and stimulate the economy.
  • I will work in the Senate to defend our nation’s interests and to keep our military second to none. As a lieutenant colonel and 30-year member of the Army National Guard, I will keep faith with all who serve, and get our veterans all the benefits they deserve.
  • And let me say this, with respect to those who wish to harm us, I believe that our Constitution and laws exist to protect this nation - they do not grant rights and privileges to enemies in wartime. In dealing with terrorists, our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop them, not lawyers to defend them.
  • Raising taxes, taking over our health care, and giving new rights to terrorists is the wrong agenda for our country. What I've heard again and again on the campaign trail, is that our political leaders have grown aloof from the people, impatient with dissent, and comfortable in the back room making deals. And we can do better.
  • Across this country, we are united by basic convictions that need only to be clearly stated to win a majority. If anyone still doubts that, in the election season just beginning, let them look to Massachusetts. Fellow citizens, what happened in this election can happen all over America. We are witnesses, you and I, to the truth that ideals, hard work, and strength of heart can overcome any political machine.
  • As I proudly take up the duty you have given me, I promise to do my best for Massachusetts and America every time the roll is called. I go to Washington as the representative of no faction or interest, answering only to my conscience and to the people... I’m Scott Brown, I'm from Wrentham, I drive a truck, and I am nobody’s senator but yours.
And he said it all without a teleprompter. If you want to actually hear his delivery, I've made it easy for you.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Climate Change: The Other Side of the Story

Don't scream and say I hate the environment. I love the trees, flowers, plants and animals. I lived in Churchill, Manitoba, land of the polar bears, back in the fifties. They weren't endangered then, and way up there on the Hudson Bay, those of us who were still little kids were warned about how to behave to stay out of their territory, leaving both them and ourselves safe. I grew up in a family of campers. As a military family, we rarely had enough money to do more than camp out, but we saw most of this country and much of Canada as well. The slogan "Take only photos; leave only footprints" was engrained in us as a way of life, much more than a catch phrase.

Still, the political frenzy and back room dealing of the green movement has made me uneasy for quite a while. While I've been doing my part in recycling and conservation, some things haven't made sense. I've done enough research to understand that anyone who really believed in global warming as a quickly approaching catastrophe would bite the bullet and become a vegetarian. My doubts remained. Statistics were too strong against the fear tactics being used. Then the lies began to be uncovered, but still there was little to point to and say, "You see? Here's something I can really lean my suspicions on."

Last week my sister in law sent me a copy of the following video. It's fairly long—it needs to be. It's really great, though. If you find it as interesting as I did, there are several more on YouTube by John Coleman, meteorologist and founder of The Weather Channel. I learned enough to put my mind further at ease. I hope it helps.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Impossibly Easy Cheeseburger Pie - It's Great

As requested by a reader, here's the Cheeseburger pie my husband and I enjoy so much. This is the basic, original recipe, although I admit to taking liberties with it if I have exotic cheeses or special ingredients in the house. I've been known to make it with chicken and jarlsberg or swiss with green onions, but then (of course) I don't call it Cheeseburger Pie. Bisquick is the staple I keep in that "extra" canister supposedly made for tea. I keep my tea in tea boxes, liking flavors and not wanting to mix them up in a canister.

Although I have to idea who wrote the original recipe for this amazing and impossibly easy family favorite meal, I wish I did so I could personally give them my thanks. And Mason Canyon? Thanks for asking for it here.

Impossible Cheeseburger Pie

1 lbs lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)
3/4 cup Original Bisquick® mix
1 1/2 cup milk
3 eggs

Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray.
In large skillet, sauté onion until transparent, then add beef and cook until thoroughly done, salting as desired. Drain thoroughly.
Empty into pie pan and cover with cheese.
In small bowl, whisk remaining ingredients until well blended. Pour over other ingredients in pie pan.
Bake about 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Bake an extra five to ten minutes.

Friday, January 15, 2010

It's The Little Things: Mr. Coffee Café Frappe

There are few special treats my husband appreciates more than a good blended mocha. In one of the after-Christmas sales I had ordered him a Mr. Coffee Café Frappe machine to make icy blended coffee drinks at home. Since I've not been feeling well, between the broken rib and the chest cold, I just stuck the box out of sight until I mended a bit.

Tonight was the big night. I made a cheeseburger pie, and once that was in the oven, used our phone's intercom feature to warn John to stay in his HAM room until dinner was ready so he wouldn't ruin "a surprise." Then I dragged out the box and set up the machine. Once I had everything cleaned, set up and figured out, I was nearly able to grind a drink without the machine, I got so angry.

These machines cost $79 retail. Once you open it up, you finally realize that you need to go buy a small size package of coffee filters before you can use it. You'd think they'd at least give you a few to start with. So there I was, with a meat pie ten minutes from the table, and my surprise a very unpleasant, "Well, you can look at how nice it fits on the counter, but I can't make you a drink until we go buy filters."

Really, Sunbeam Products (DBA Jarden Consumer Solutions), don't you think that an eighty dollar product should include everything the customer needs to have a good 'out of the box experience'? Especially if it's just a few filters that you could have packed in there for maybe three pennies? I noticed that at Amazon I could get 12 packages of filters, 200 filters per package, for $18.28 with no shipping and handling. That would mean I could have sent ten to each customer for seven cents. I'll bet a big corporation could get an even better price ratio.

Customers like to feel that they've been treated well. I will probably end up loving this machine and using it pretty close to daily, especially in the Summer. I won't, however, forget that the company didn't care if I had a hassle getting to use it when I first opened it. When it eventually breaks, I'll look for another brand.

What did John say? The cheeseburger pie was really good...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Forward This to 10 Friends in 15 Minutes...

My inbox fills with email, and I check it frequently throughout the day when we're home. I love it, but will admit to a few things that really make me nuts. Since we all have things that tend to push our buttons, I finally feel the need to push back a bit.

The first thing I don't want to see when I open an email is that I'm one of forty addressees, and all their email addresses are there with mine for everyone to see. I don't usually know the rest of the people, and It's been forwarded several times. By now there are two hundred email addresses at my fingertips. If I were an unscrupulous person, I could probably think of many things to do with this new database of contacts. It also means I need to scroll way down before I get to the actual message.

It only takes a moment or two to copy and paste into a new email to be sent, and your list of addressees can be placed in the BCC box. That means blind carbon copy, which might only make sense to us older folks, but it means that nobody sees who you sent it to (or their addresses) except the sender. It also means the person opening the email gets a nice clean copy.

My second hot button is getting really great stories that aren't true. Hasn't anybody ever heard of Whether it's an inspirational story, a political rumor or a letter supposedly written by a famous person, please check its validity on someplace like Snopes before passing it along to hundreds of your friends. If you send me an unverified story, believe me when I say that I will check it out and do a "reply to all" (since you didn't do a BCC, I can let your entire email list for this mailing know at once) to inform them if it is a fake.

My final and biggest pet peeve, causing more frustration with email than anything else I deal with, is that little sentence near the bottom of so many emails. It cheerfully tells me to forward this email to a certain number of friends within a certain number of minutes. It implies that if I don't, I'm either not a patriot, not a Christian, not interested in supporting our troops or beating breast cancer. Or it will promise me treats, rewards or blessings as soon as I do forward it to so many in a certain amount of time.

If you send me something that says that, it won't ever be forwarded on, no matter how otherwise impressive it might be, unless I can remove that entire statement. And I rarely send anything to more than three people. I don't have "group lists," and if you receive something forwarded from me, you'll no doubt understand that when I read it, it made me think of you—either your sense of humor, your political leanings, or something you as an individual might need to hear.

I treasure the email friends I have, the blogs I read, and the connections we are able to maintain across so many miles. Email and the internet give us so much. I'm just begging for a bit of responsible mailing practices. Now, if you will just forward this to everyone on your contact list within fifteen minutes, next Tuesday you will receive...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Dealing With a Broken Rib

Perhaps I should have titled this post, "What Not To Do With A Broken Rib." The number one thing I would not recommend doing is coming down with a chest cold. Every cough, sneeze and wheeze feels like it's pulling that stupid rib apart all over again.

John is a big fan of soap and water. I'm a proponent of hand sanitizer. When he came down with a head cold just days after I broke the rib, I asked him to please use the hand sanitizer. "Sure, okay." I know what that means. It means, "Don't bug me. I'll do what I want—it's good enough." Thanks for the cold, John.

Other things you probably don't want to do while you have a broken rib include very simple stuff—like breathing. Breathing is good, though, and that's the reason they no longer bind your rib cage when you have a break. People stopped breathing in deeply enough because of the bindings. Like the pain isn't going to stop you? (Just breathe through it or you'll get pneumonia, the doctor said.) Ouch. That would be fun.

Climbing stairs isn't much fun because the legs are connected somehow. It's complicated. Everything you move seems to connect to that rib, pulling it the wrong way. Is there a right way? Bending over is difficult, but getting back up is almost impossible. Luckily nobody is aiming a camera at me while I use walls and chairs to return to an upright position after retrieving something I've dropped on the floor. It's easier when John's around, since he'll gladly pick things up for me. Unfortunately, he's been hiding in his HAM room downstairs pretty constantly since we got home. Maybe he comes upstairs while I'm sleeping. I've been doing a lot of that since I got sick.

Between the pain pills and the first chest cold I've had in at least four years, I think sleeping is a miracle. I'm not a good sleeper usually, but this week? Wow. I'm setting new records. One thing I've noticed about sleeping (and pain medicine definitely adds to this) is that it really cuts into a person's reading and playing time. Every time I get out of bed I expect to be healed. Mind over matter. I think I'll go back to bed and check again in about six hours...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Reading Mariah Stewart's Hard Truth

Just over half way through a book by an established author who happens to be new to me, I have to stop and share a recommendation. In one word, wow. The book, Hard Truth, written by Mariah Stewart in 2005, has really kept me thinking. It's very well-written with a fascinating plot and lots of unexpected character twists. I have no idea who the culprit is, and the story line just keeps thickening. I love it.

I just went to Wikipedia to see if perhaps I might have read anything else she had written (I hadn't, but soon will) and found out that this is book two of a four-book "Truth" series. I would never have guessed there was something preceding this. It stands on its own perfectly. I'm heading over to my Amazon link next to order the other three volumes.

It's worth mentioning that the pain medicine has me close to brain dead lately, so if a book can keep me this awake and interested, it's beyond good. I was going to go to bed early, but I need to see how many more bodies show up in that field. And I don't really trust Mr... Well, you'd better read it for yourself. Like I said, I'm just over half way through (57% mathematically). Now, if you do read it (or have already) and manage(d) to figure out "who-done-it" in fewer pages, I'd love to know, so come back and comment. Especially if you're on pain medicine.

Thank God for books. What richness these stories add to my life.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ray Stevens' Health Care Song

I wrote to my congressmen about the healthcare bill and when I got form letters back from each of them, telling me how to contact them with specific ideas or concerns, I wrote back as instructed. It was interesting that each of my congressional representatives sent back the exact same form letter they had used after my first letter. So much for wanting to hear from me in more detail.

I happened to stumble upon a video that reaffirmed that I'm not alone in my concerns. (For instance, if this health care is going to be so great, why aren't Congress or the President and his family going to be signed up for it?) Why are the lawyers in favor of it? So many questions...

Please enjoy Ray Stevens as he sings We The People, as found on YouTube. I love the internet...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Dr. Bohm in Loveland—One of My Blessings

I had my regularly scheduled visit with the good Dr. Martin Bohm today for my annual checkup. Until I arrived, he wasn't aware I had broken a rib last week, but he didn't miss a beat. If there's a better internist in the area, I would be surprised. I've been going to Dr. Bohm for four years now, and no matter what health problem I've faced, he's proven his ability to understand and treat me with patience, professionalism and understanding. I never feel rushed. He asks all the right questions and really listens to my answers.

I was really pleased when he responded to my embarrassment about how I was injured. He told me that I would be amazed at how many patients he treats who had accidents in the bathroom because they sat down in the wrong spot at night, missing the seat altogether, or hitting the edge and falling off. I'll admit to having thought that no one before me had ever been that stupid. It really did make me feel better, and I realized then that he has a gift for saying the right thing, putting me (and my husband when it's his turn) at ease.

He was a little disgruntled when he saw how many of the 20 pain pills I still had left from the emergency room visit five days ago. He let me know that if I had taken them "as prescribed" I wouldn't have had more than one or two left, if any. Why didn't I take them? I was obviously in a lot of pain. I explained that I was afraid to run out. He told me that the ER doctor had given me enough to get me to my own doctor. He'd take care of me, but I needed to get in front of the pain, not ride on it. I think this week will be better. One to two tablets every 4-6 hours will give me much better relief than the one tablet every ten hours I've been allowing myself, supplemented with aspirin.

He also is really good in the answering questions department. How long am I going to hurt like this? Within about three weeks the rib bones should start sticking together enough to stop rubbing every time I move, which is where the majority of the pain is coming from. The more carefully I move now, the sturdier the "glue" will hold and the pain will start to diminish from that point onward. It won't be overnight, but relief will come. Straight answers are so welcome!

One final word about Dr. Bohm. When he left the room and one of the medical assistants was in there with me, I said something to the effect that I thought he was just a great doctor and a wonderful person. She turned around a flashed me a beautiful smile. "He's also the best boss a person could ever have." So he's not just a blessing to his patients.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Making Things for Friends

One nice thing about making gifts for people happens when you visit them in their homes and see the gifts in use. There's no greater gift they can give you in return than the obvious pleasure they have in using something you took the time to make for them.

While at Pat and Betty's home we not only got to see—but to enjoy using—the bedspread and pillow shams I had made for them a few years back. She had put them on the guest bed for us. I was really touched. I mentioned that I never did take pictures of the set when I made them, and after we returned home she emailed me a couple of photos. I'm including one here. I think the set turned out really nice, and it's as soft now as it was when I chose the yarn. It's a made-up pattern, so it's one of a kind.

Their home is done in southwestern colors, so it fits right in. Betty was extra nice to send me the photos. I love making things for people, but often forget to get the camera out before I gift them.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Home is Where the Bed Is

The pass across the Rockies leads from my brother's home to ours. Since another big storm was coming in, we hastily packed and headed home yesterday, arriving just before five o'clock last night. My rib wasn't happy, but I was smiling as I walked into the house like an old woman. It's always good to be home. At least now that we live here it's good to be home. I guess our roots were always here. We just had to find them.

I'll admit I didn't unpack last night—or yet this morning, coming to think of it. I checked email and phone messages, and made a few "we safe at home now" phone calls. Then I took one of those modern marvels called a pain pill and went to bed really early after a very few bites of dinner. (Thanks, Betty. She sent us home with dinner—her famous Boston Butt, all set to reheat for a fast meal and just about zero prep time.) Some people eat when they're sad, sick, hurt or depressed. I'm the opposite. I tend to sleep.

One of the phone calls I returned made me laugh, though, which really did hurt. It was from my cousin Mary. Let me remind you that we've been here over four years, with Mary living in Denver, just an hour away, and we've never yet managed to get together except when we both visited Wisconsin at the same time. Go figure. The last time we tried was the day she and Earl decided to come up on the day we were leaving for California. They're coming today. Maybe I'll get dressed after all. Perhaps she'd like to empty a suitcase or two while she's here. (I hope she's not reading this...)

One of the things she told me was to hug a pillow against my ribs if I laugh, cough or sneeze. Afterwards I wondered if she realized the broken rib is in my back. It's hard to hug a pillow back there. My arms don't work that way. I'll have to ask her to demonstrate for me. Still, it will be good to see her. She's one of my Aunt Cookie's kids, and a more fun group of cousins I've yet to imagine. They're the kind to call with important information, like a new phone number, and ask, "Have you got your crayon sharpened?"

My mother had a saying: Never a dull moment. I'm keeping up the tradition, Ma.